Bill Littlefield has noticed lately that some people who make their living from games are playing out of bounds. Golfer Phil Mickelson’s shady handicapping of the stock market comes to mind, as does this week’s revelation that Roger Goodell et al. changed their minds about funding an NIH study of brain damage among former football players.
It’s great to be an athlete. It’s great to be in sports.
You do a lot of stuff that might land other folks in courts.
And I don’t mean the courts for playing basketball, my friend.
I mean the courts where pain feels like it might not ever end.
Consider, for example, a rich golfer gaining more
By means of information that he didn’t have before
He got it from insiders who knew where the money’d go
Before the general public knew, for we are often slow.
The golfer is Phil Mickelson, and he had friends with friends
Who had connections with some folks whose means as well as ends
Are frowned upon by those we charge with making up the rules
Designed to help ensure that all the unconnected fools
Won’t lose their shirts to wise guys, sharpies, aka the pros,
Who trade on others’ ignorance. And where the money goes
Is anybody’s guess until they seek it far offshore,
Where it can grow in secrecy and soon be joined by more.
Phil Mickelson got caught, I guess, that happens, as it seems,
The consequence can be described as what another dreams
Of if he’s broken laws, and though it might seem almost funny,
Phil Mickelson was simply asked to please give back the money.
It’s good to be Phil Mickelson. There is no doubt of that.
And good, as well, to be Roger Goodell, whose bank account is fat.
The league atop which he now sits had said they’d fund a study…
Until it seemed what was discovered just might further muddy
The NFL’s contention, which has never really changed,
That all the former players who are currently deranged
Mean nothing much compared to the imperative to sell
Pro football to the public… and the sale is going well.
The League, the shield of which Goodell has worshiped, has said “No!”
“We do not like the doctors, so our money will not go
To helping them help players who have made our lives quite grand,"
'Where are your principles?' you say. “Ah, well, that’s where we stand.”
Are fans OK with how that sounds? Who knows and who can tell?
Perhaps one day the ax will fall upon the NFL.
There may be yet more damning tapes and transcripts and reports
But as of here and as of now, it’s great to be in sports.