Just Some Thoughts On Brett Favre, Brandon Marshall, Derrick Mason, Cal Ripken, Ray Lewis and Anita Marks ….

July 24, 2009 |

I’m gearing up for vacation, which means I need to vent. Such expressions are always a mixture of positive and negative reactions. However, I honestly try to express my feelings in a productively-spirited way.

Over the next few minutes, I’m gonna do my best not to bore you, while dishing on Brett Favre, Brandon Marshall, Cal Ripken, Derrick Mason, Ray Lewis and Anita Marks. Be prepared, it’s probably my longest blog, ever. But, the intent is to feel “ready for vacation” when I’m done writing.

You ready ??? Here we go …..

Are you tired of the Brett Favre saga? When will it end? Seriously, I’ve always liked Favre and thought he was the kinda guy to build a team around. But, I’m not so certain, any longer. At this point, Brett Favre’s motives and maneuvers have become an annual event of distraction.

The sportsworld (especially the folks at ESPN) waits with baited breath, like a giddy teenage girl during prom season, simply hoping Brett graces us with another season of lazered touchdown passes and record breaking interception totals.

The problem?

Well, these moods and conflicted feelings affect other people. God knows Ted Thompson, Aaron Rogers and numerous cheeseheads have gulped their share of Pepto-Bismol, over the past few years. It’s not fair and it’s even cruel.

You’re gonna hear the following statement A LOT, during the entirety of this blog. Brett Favre’s situation is evidence of just how powerful “comfort” can be. Brett is able to change course more times than the Andrea Gail, because he has the luxury of comfort, if he makes the wrong decision.

But, other people don’t have this luxury …..

The same applies to Brandon Marshall. He’s a guy who hasn’t experienced discomfort – or enough of it to change his ways. We know the deal – Brandon fights with women. Whether he’s routinely the aggressor or not, he has the propensity to find conflict when his personal life collides with the opposite sex, in his domicile.

This is a problem. And, it’s a serious problem, in my backyard, if Brandon Marshall makes the permanent 1693-mile journey to Baltimore. Hey, it’s America and he can live where he wants – but, I’m not obligated to root for him – regardless of affiliation.

The truth is Brandon Marshall is a guy who gets in trouble WAY TOO MUCH for my liking. And, I’m not a guy who calls athletes role models. But, I do expect them to be good citizens. This includes keeping your nosepickers off girls.

For those who are about to allege “women can be crazy” or “women are just as capable of assault,” you’re absolutely right. And, if a guy doesn’t get away from a girl with whom he fights, he’s too comfortable with the situation. Uh huh, there’s that word, again.

And, I don’t wanna hear “the heart wants what it wants.” This is what psycho-stalkers use as a moral compass. Brandon Marshall has a history of domestic violence. OJ Simpson and Steve McNair are painful reminders of the seriousness of this issue.

I don’t care about touchdowns. I’m just saying NO to Brandon Marshall, in a Baltimore Ravens uniform.

This leads me directly into Cal Ripken. Why? It’s simple, he does things the right way. He always has …..

A few weeks ago, I contacted John Maroon (Cal’s PR Rep) and inquired about Cal’s availability for the WNST/Harbor Hospital Fundraiser. To my disappointment, John advised Cal would not participate during the weekend event. The initial reaction left me stunned.

This is Cal Ripken. He’s the definition of a good guy, right?

Well, John elaborated and explained that Cal reserves his weekends for family. This is an unconditional commitment. After all, he spent 20 years of weekends away from his family.

Rex Snider – the WNST guy, was very disappointed.

However, Rex Snider – the husband and father, was pretty impressed, and reminded of how to do IT. In fact, I keep a similar routine. I survived a career of shift-work, which consisted of oddball hours and sacrificed weekends and evenings, shagging calls and investigations.

Since retiring, I always reserve Saturday nights for my wife. And, I don’t partake in anything that requires a commitment of evenings or weekends away from family. They’ve paid enough. And, as John Maroon reminded me, you can’t get that time back.

Indeed, Cal and I are comfortable …..

Thanks, Cal. I was reminded of a promise to my girls and never even spoke with you about it. Then, again, maybe I should be thanking John Maroon.

Family is paramount. And, for this reason, I’m obliged to think Derrick Mason might want the same things desired by Cal Ripken, and myself. Who could blame him? He’s certainly been a good steward and amassed impressive career credentials.

Yet, amid Derrick’s success, there is the legitimacy of a sudden retirement announcement, nearly two weeks ago. There have been some assertions Derrick Mason’s announced retirement is tied to financial strife. I hope not.

There have also been suggestions indicating the abrupt ending might be related to Steve McNair’s death. If so, it’s simply another example of the relentless power of comfort.

Yeah, I said it.

The sad truth is many grieving people don’t have the luxury of walking away from their career, because a loved one dies. In fact, many widowed family and friends are forced to pick up the pace and produce more – in the absence of the departed.

Far be it from me to point out Derrick Mason’s obligations. That’s between him and his wife. However, if his retirement really is tied to the McNair tragedy, I think the Ravens and their stakeholders are entitled to hear it, and not through some obscure website.

As I’ve already indicated, there are spouses who’ve lost each other and parents who’ve lost children, in the same time span revolving around the death of Steve McNair. Many of those people are back at work. I’m not suggesting they’re OVER IT. You never get OVER IT.

But, we pick ourselves up and go back to work, while providing for a household. It’s the sobering reality of life and it doesn’t really slow down when the bills are due. The grieving live with the pain and typically work through it, as well.

In truth, if Derrick Mason no longer plays football, because of an aspect regarding Steve McNair’s death, I truly hope the decision brings him solace. But, I’ll contend he’s reached that point of comfort, which allows him to do it.

Rewind the calendar a decade. I don’t know that Derrick Mason would have the financial security (or power of comfort) to walk away, as a result of his friend’s death. I think it’s a fair consideration. And I truly hope he finds peace.

I’m a pretty devout guy and Derrick, along with anyone who has suffered loss, is in my thoughts.

Speaking of spirituality, I’ll admit I’m intrigued by Ray Lewis and a few others who’ve described their reliance on faith and prayer. I’ve researched Ray’s past, as it relates to a fateful night, in Atlanta. In fact, I’ve done a good bit of reading.

What I’ve concluded may surprise some people. Yet, I think many others will share my views.

For all the rumors and innuendo, I honestly believe Ray was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I’m not excusing his dishonesty with investigators or initial reluctance to cooperate with law enforcement. But, some truly reckless allegations have superceded the facts.

Ray Lewis is not a murderer. In fact, I think he’s nothing more than a guy, who at 25 years old, got scared and made some poor personal decisions, in the wake of a very tragic incident. He’s human.

There is no need to recount the Ray Lewis trial. But, a striking factor for me has been Ray’s squeaky clean criminal record in the wake of Atlanta, 2000. My experience has taught me bad guys usually find their way back on the wrong side of the legal system.

They are what they are …..

I think Ray Lewis has paid an awfully high price for being a bystander and witness to a horrendous incident. His character and reputation are forever tarnished. I hope he finds that comfort many of us enjoy.

I’m pulling for him. And, I understand he’s changed quite a bit. Money is supposedly a driving force behind his intentions. He seems honest about it – even if his ambitions sometimes whiff of selfish. At least he’s not pretending.

I don’t know if Ray is comfortable. But, when he speaks, he sounds at peace. And that’s half the battle.

Wouldn’t you know it, my blog has transcended into speaking !!!! You know this is where we’ll find Ms. Anita Marks. And, no, I’m not about to be sexist or abrasive, in any way.

Let me start this part by saying one of the things I really respect about Nestor is his direct approach when it comes to discussing people who work for competitors. I’ve never really understood the charades and roundabout way of referencing other media personalities.

I think Nestor and those like him are doing it right. And, I think Tom Davis and others who won’t go further than saying “those down the dial” are irresponsible. Now, I’m not saying it’s fun or prudent to disparage someone. That’s not my intent.

I’m simply trying to be honest, and if I feel a media personality is being less than forthright or shepherding a degree of integrity, I’m usually inspired to challenge them.

That said, I’ll admit that my time is occasionally spent listening to the competition. Believe me, if you want, or don’t. But, I think a guy in my shoes, with such cache’ of inexperience, can learn from everyone. I can absorb what to do, as well as what not to do.

I have an opinion of every on-air sports personality in this town. In fact, if a talk show host doesn’t listen to the competition, how will they know their respective strengths and weaknesses? So, I listen.

And, so I must seize the final part of this blog to take serious issue with Anita Marks. Hey, I’m just being honest ……

Some folks think it’s beyond the scope of sports to talk about sex appeal, while ridiculing or admonishing the physical characteristics of others. And, I’m not wading into the sordid humor of the Howard Stern-types.

But, Anita has been promoted from a sexual perspective, by her employers at CBS Radio. They have peddled the product, based on beauty. I think she’s an extremely attractive lady and I like her courage to say what she feels.

But, she has a responsibility to fairness and objectivity.

Shortly after the NBA Championship, I heard Anita Marks criticize Tiger Woods, regarding his off-the-course demeanor. Specifically, she lambasted Tiger’s failure (in her mind) to champion the cause of African Americans.

In her words, Tiger has done little to support and further the social standing of his race. Perhaps, Anita feels this disconnect is calculated. I’d like to ask her about it. In essence, she’s referenced Tiger’s reluctance to promote issues regarding the cultural influences and advancement of African Americans.

Fair enough.

But, I think Anita Marks has the same responsibility.

She is a personality. When she walks into a crowded stadium, people know who she is. I’ve seen it. She has an impact on people.

And, she has a voice.

So, where am I going with this?

Well, Anita has become the ambassador of “All Things Brandon Marshall.” She loves herself some Brandon Marshall !!!! And, she’s very vocal in her personal endorsement and plea for the embattled receiver to join the Ravens. According to her, he REALLY wants to be here.

Good for him. And, as I indicated earlier in this blog, the answer should be NO. While I’m sure Anita knows her sports, I dread the thought of what her decision would’ve been when faced with the choice of Jonathon Ogden and Lawrence Phillips, in the 1996 NFL Draft.
Yet, I’m looking for something deeper from Anita Marks.

In fact, I’m hoping she’ll seize this invitation to champion the cause of women, in Baltimore. For every victim of domestic violence, which includes physical and emotional trauma, I’m looking to Anita to represent her gender and those who’ve been victimized in this town.

Record numbers of abused women are being admitted into hospitals, daily. The reality of domestic violence, is indeed, more important than catching touchdowns. The cases of OJ Simpson and Robert Blake are not limited to Hollywood. It’s very real – just ask Nicole Brown’s family.

I’ve witnessed the hell of domestic violence. And, I’ve arrested my share of offenders, including men and women. Issues regarding domestic violence will be front and center for police officers, in Baltimore, tonight and every other night.

So, why is Anita Marks vehemently lobbying to bring a man which such known problems to this city? Brandon Marshall has a propensity to having police called to his home. In fact, police officers were dispatched to Marshall’s residence ELEVEN TIMES, during a two year stretch, from 2006 – 2008.

I’m sure the Baltimore County and/or Baltimore City Police Departments are tingling with joy at the prospect of possibly policing Brandon Marshall’s neighborhood. Maybe, they can erect a sub-station in his driveway.

But, seriously, doesn’t Anita Marks owe the women of Baltimore a little more representation? She has a voice. Yet, her attraction seems to be to the “player.” Who’s gonna babysit him off the field?

Would Anita date someone who fights with women? Does Anita think repeated incidents of such conduct simply amount to mistakes? I’d like to know her position, socially …..

We all know Anita Marks is from Florida. I’m always glad to welcome new neighbors. But, many of us have invested a LIFETIME in this city, and we have daughters. For all I know, Anita will be back in Florida, someday. But, Baltimore, is my home and I’ll choose to lobby for better citizens on our sports teams.

This is Anita’s chance to be the “Tiger Woods” of women’s rights. Not a very comfortable spot, huh? It is what it is …..

And, I’m ready for vacation.