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Home » Reflections » Irony, Football and Fraud

Irony, Football and Fraud

Centuries ago, travelers relied on the generosity of monasteries and convents for shelter and food. Monks and nuns took care of the poor as well as the rich, using donations from the latter to help the former. Recently, a group of women religious bought stock in hotels, not to return to their ancient roots of caring for strangers but in order to tackle a modern twist on the age-old problem of prostitution – sex trafficking. By holding hotels accountable for human trafficking awareness training, the good sisters aim to decrease the rate of sex trafficking in Indianapolis this weekend. That’s a lot more complex than teaching catechism or changing bedsheets. I will admit that the whole phenomenon of exploiting women during glorious sporting events baffles me, but perhaps I  haven’t watched enough Spartacus.

And isn’t the Super Bowl just another gladiator match with slightly different rules and better stadiums? Since the twenty-first century enjoys perks like sanitation, air travel and the internet, there is also a  multimedia extravaganza available online and in person. There’s much talk about how this game is a rematch of the 2007 game and a face-off between two great quarterbacks – one boisterously good-looking and famous, the other an often-overlooked little brother. I hope it’s a nail biter like the AFL & NFL Championship games; the whole playoff series was stupendous football so it would be a drag to have the game be a blowout, even if the commercials feature the return of Ferris Bueller.

The dramatic twists and turns of this season require a great climax, maybe the kind of drama delivered by Mark Moseley back in 1982. But what happens after the glamour goes away? Does playing sports have value for grown men? Mike Wise of the Washington Post found out in this weekend’s feature, which might have been called Tilting at Windmills in Fredericksburg, or The Federicksburgh Generals, Football, and Finding Peace. But it’s in the Post, where clever headlines and article titles violate editorial standards.

Post headlines aren’t teasers, they’re trailers that give away the entire story. And yet it works, because I definitely wanted to read this:

Indiana election chief found guilty of voter fraud, other charges; faces removal from office

The article explains that Charlie White, the secretary of state for Indiana and therefore the person in charge of enforcing voting law, was found guilty of false registration, voting in another precinct, perjury and theft. Theft, you say? Did he steal ballots? No. He lied about where he was living because he didn’t want to give up his $1,000 a month salary for serving on a town council after he moved. Yeah. He took taxpayer money fraudulently while campaigning for a job that requires the utmost in honor and integrity in order to protect our right to vote. Now that’s irony.

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