A few things that have been in the news lately.
nNot long after he won his long elusive second Super Bowl Peyton Manning was dragged into territory that, lately, has been reserved for football players like Johnny Manziel, Greg Hardy and Ray Rice.
No, Manning wasn’t physically injuring a woman he’d claimed to love. He had youthful stupidity brought back into the spotlight after two things happened. One was a group of women claiming the University of Tennessee has a rather lax attitude toward athletes who commit sexual assault and filing a lawsuit over it. One of the things mentioned in the lawsuit was a 1996 incident where Manning either (depending on which side you believe) had a mooning go wrong (his side) or plopped his posterior right onto the face of a female trainer (her side).
The other thing was one of those internet writers who have no journalistic credentials (they call themselves bloggers) grabbed the story and talked one of the New York City tabloids into running it and it was national news.
The incident was actually put to rest many years ago with an out-of-court settlement in 1997 that put a gag order on everybody. For some reason, Manning and his father mentioned it in a book they wrote in 2003, the woman sued again and there was another out-of-court settlement.
And now, 13 years later, here we go again. Anybody who pays attention to football in Tennessee knew the story of Manning’s mooning gone wrong, but we didn’t pay much attention to it. Manning, obviously, went onto a great pro career and the trainer went to another college and somewhere along the line trained Olympic athletes. It was something that was credited to youthful ignorance and was slowly being forgotten through the haze of time.
But in an Internet age, things are never really forgotten, especially after you win a Super Bowl and are crowned as football royalty and described as the kind of guy we need for our kids to look up to. That kind of thing never goes unchallenged.
If you want, you can look up the trainer’s complaint against Manning. It’s pretty graphic stuff and shows Manning to be an arrogant bully who did not like it when things didn’t go his way. But there is also an affidavit she signed that says she looked up, saw Manning was mooning somebody, called him a name and walked away. Neither one matters because the case is long over.
But still. Johnny Manziel breaks his girlfriend’s ear drum and people say, “That boy needs help.” Peyton Manning supposedly does something disgusting to a female trainer and people say it was a youthful mistake and to let it go. Cam Newton celebrates in the end zone, hands the ball to the nearest kid, sulks a little bit and people say he should be kicked out of football (that’s actually one of the nicer things said). I wonder why that is?
• Speaking of football, I saw where everybody got upset about Beyonce’s halftime performance at the Super Bowl. I’ll be honest, they had the microphones turned so low for all of them that I had no idea what she or anybody else was singing. And the backup dancers dressed as Black Panthers? That went right over my head.
I thought it was the usual over reaction. People have to get upset about something. If that’s what’s upsetting you, you’ve got a pretty decent life. “Saturday Night” Live did a funny little film about how the performance informed white people Beyonce was black and they just couldn’t handle it.
• The gas prices in Sweetwater suddenly went up about 14 cents overnight and people started quaking in their shoes. But all it really amounted to was the town’s gas stations getting in line with all the surrounding towns that had never fallen below $1.44 a gallon.
I’m not sure why us fine Sweetwater residents had $1.35 gas for a few days, but it wasn’t long enough for us to think $1.49 is suddenly way too high. Besides, it’ll be back to $3.15 a gallon one day. And then you’ll really love that gigantic SUV you rushed out and bought.