A new year brings the same ol’ stuff

A new year is upon us, but some things are still the same. Last weekend, the Detroit Lions had a chance to nail down their first division title since 1993, but they fell short on their own turf against the Green Bay Packers.

To cap off that disappointment, Detroit attempted the saddest Hail Mary I’ve seen in a while. In the closing seconds, quarterback Matthew Stafford launched a deep pass that wide receiver Anquan Boldin snagged in the back of the end zone for a touchdown.

It brought back memories of the “Miracle in Motown” pass that Green Bay pulled off last season. However, the Lions’ TD was meaningless as all it did was close the gap and did nothing but add to the never-ending disappointment for the Detroit faithful.

Also last weekend, we were delivered a reminder by the world of football that violence against women is just something to shrug off.

TV commentator Brent Musburger decided to speak about the Joe Mixon incident and quickly put his foot in his mouth.

For those unaware, the Oklahoma running back was suspended for a year after punching a woman and breaking four bones in her face, but played in the Sugar Bowl against Auburn.

Musburger called Mixon “one of the best” and also wished him well in his attempt to make it to the NFL. When people called him out on social media, Musburger then made things worse by flipping out on the air.

He had enough common sense to say that what Mixon did was “brutal” and “uncalled for” but then got indignant that people were upset with him for his earlier comments and talked about how he believed in “second chances.”

Mixon had also previously gotten upset with a parking attendant, ripped up a parking ticket and threw it in her face. So maybe Brent is really all about third chances, and since he’s ogled female fans in the crowd as well as reporters several times on the air, I’m not surprised by his poor choice of words.

Naturally, Musburger also had some defenders on social media. It seems like whenever violence against women is brought up, sports fans lunge for their phones or sprint to their laptops to get on message boards.

There were people virulently defending former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice until the video was released where he slugged his fiancee. I also have friends who dismiss boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s many allegations of domestic violence as well and have gotten upset if it’s brought up.

I’m a firm believer in that people are innocent until proven guilty, but it’s disturbing how easily some sports fans automatically dismiss any allegations as made up.

These same people will say that they are strongly against domestic violence until their favorite athlete or team is involved. It just continues to show how allegiances can sometimes trump common decency and makes me wonder if things will ever change.

Here’s what I want in 2017 — maybe this will be the year that violence against women (and men) will fully be taken seriously, both by fans and the professional leagues.

It’s definitely will be a long road, but I think we will keep moving in the right direction. Just like the Lions right now in the postseason, there’s always hope.

Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal.net.

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