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Sports commentary: Beknighted

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England has messed things up, but good

By Mike Forster

  Over the course of the season, you've been exposed to plenty of propaganda telling you how the NFL is made up of a bunch of great guys.

Through organizations, such as NFL Charities, the league and its players throw time, talent and treasure at worthwhile causes.

During this, the season of giving, such largesse is to be acknowledged gratefully.

My feelings are that, certainly, it is nice of the league to help out the rest of humanity.  But, let's not kid ourselves, here:  The NFL is a money-making machine that turns out a wildly popular product.  Plain and simple.

Why does it, therefore, go to great lengths to portray itself as an altruistic organization?

Probably for the same reason that Donald Trump, an exceptional businessman, feels he can dabble in the political ring or that  the superb actress Gwyneth Paltrow feels compelled to  sing.  Or Kim Kardashian, who I'm certain does something well, can do whatever the heck else it is that she does.

We live in a world where it isn't good enough to excel in one area.  You have to wear many hats.  And, you have to bear many titles.

I blame the British for this mess.

Being half Irish, it might give me some historically-based pleasure to stick it in the eye of the English.  But that's not the case.  I legitimately feel that the Brits have been the ones who have blurred the lines.

Let me explain.

Way back when, England was renowned for its knights.  Many of us grew up reading of the exploits of Sir Ivanhoe and those of the Knights of the Round Table.

These guys earned their way to being dubbed "Sir" through great feats of courage and strength.

One of the ways that England became one of the greatest powers the world has ever known was through her great and mighty knights.

Then something happened.  England started bestowing the title of "knight," on people from all sorts of walks of life.

Whereas one used to have to lop off the head of the odd dragon or conquer some evil mystic, now the title was dished out to those who excelled in such unheroic pursuits as science, writing and music.

These guys couldn't pull a sword from a stone if they were given a jack hammer.

So, today, instead of having the likes of Sir Gawain, Sir Lancelot and Sir Galahad, we have the likes of Sir Paul (McCartney) and Sir Elton (John).

If you happen to be a damsel in distress, you'd best hope that Sir Paul and Sir Elton aren't at the top of that day's duty roster.  Should they be, your goose, as they say, is cooked.

Instead of a knight who has a bloody sword in his right hand, a spiked mace in his left and a knife clenched in his teeth, you're going to get a guy toting a lute, singing about the Crocodile Rock.

In short, the minstrels have now become the knights.

Elton John and Paul McCartney wrote a lot of great music.  They've brought joy to many people in this world.

But, I can't see either one of them traipsing to the rescue of anyone beyond Bennie and the Jets or Eleanor Rigby.

We know it.  They know it.  Yet, they are knighted.  Does that not debase the whole concept of knighthood?

With England, which is our mother nation after all, wreaking confusion on such a scale, it is little wonder that we would fall right in line.

After all, is it such a stretch from calling the lead singer of the Rolling Stones "Sir Michael" Jagger to calling the likes of Ben Roethlisberger a warrior?  Or calling the NFL a charitable organization?

I suppose this is a fight I just can't win.  After all, if the Queen of England (or, more properly, the Queen of the United Kingdom)  has gotten it so wrong, how can we expect mere sportswriters to get it right?