Saturday, February 26, 2005

Manley Gets It Together...

I was happy to read this story in the Washington Post about Dexter Manley's successes battling his addictions. For those of you who don't know who Manley is, he was a star defensive lineman for the Washington Redskins in the 1980s, terrorizing quarterbacks throughout the NFL and amusing us fans with his antics.

I mean, he was really very funny and nutty. That's because like most NFL stars in the 1980s, he was an amiable coke fiend. I find it amusing how sanctimonious we are about the current steroid scandal in baseball, yet we were cool with Lawrence Taylor being coked out of his head as he broke records and legs (he ended Joe Theismann's career when he snapped leg in two in 1985). Because, man, could he rush the quarterback. We tolerated Mark Gastineau's stupid sack dance, because if he didn't have that form of release, he was so high and juiced up that he was likely to rip the head off an eight year old. Like he did during a Jets loss in Miami in 1986.

It was a different time in the NFL then. Instead of loud former athletes mouthing off tame nonsense, NFL pregame shows featured analysis from bookies with names like "Jimmy the Greek" (CBS) and Pete "The Axe" Axthelm (ESPN) . Frankly, they knew a lot more useful information about the games and teams as well because they had a lot more at stake than their reputations. Cash.

And colleges didn't give a shit about the education of its "student"-athletes back then. Dexter Manley graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1981. And he couldn't read. Seriously, he was illiterate and didn't learn how to read until he was thirty.

But, there is always a chance for redemption. Manley has been clean for almost three years and is now working with a community outreach group called Second Genesis that is trying to help high school kids keep on the straight and narrow. But, from the description in the Post story of a recent speech Manley gave in D.C. about his own trials and tribulations, it looks like he might have his work cut out for him:

"Dexter Manley had lost them already. He'd spent barely five minutes on stage, and the 400 Anacostia High School students sitting before him had grown tired of his speech, turning instead to their own entertainment.

The group of girls near the back wall stood and danced. A boy sitting up front slipped on head phones. All around Manley, students chatted derisively about the dangers of drugs and drug use -- the topics of the day -- until the chaos swallowed the keynote speaker."

He's trying though. And despite the cynicism of the Post author, if he reaches one of those 400 students -- and he probably did -- then, he deserves our respect.

3 Comments:

Blogger yyjkhk said...

rumsfeld forgot about the things that we don't know that we know

3:29 PM  
Blogger Joseph K said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:59 PM  
Blogger Joseph K said...

Blogger is screwy today. Not sure if last comment was ever posted or not.

Anyway, what I was trying to say was: easy, samuel, you are getting a little too close to something resembling the truth.

8:16 PM  

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