The future needs less aggression. Achieving that will require us to gain better control of our own adrenal responses. This will be difficult. Evolution has sculpted us to be on alert at all times. The parasympathetic nervous system has scant resources for slowing adrenal responses once they get started. This explains shocking events like what happened in the Browns-Steelers game last night (Thursday, November 14, 2019).
A tussle started near the end of the game. Myles Garrett ripped off Mason’s Rudolph’s helmet and hit him in the head with it. Rudolph was unhurt, but the result could have been different. The blow could have been fatal.
Does this mean Myles Garrett is a bad person? Listen to him talk and he seems like the opposite of a bad person. But he plays a game that requires lots of adrenaline. It can be hard to turn off the aggression once the whistle blows. This seems obvious, so what interests me more is the commentaries surrounding this event, especially some of the statements made about the generalized brawl that followed the helmet swing. For instance…
What Skip Bayless said
Skip Bayless debates sports issues with Shannon Sharpe on FS1’s Undisputed program each morning. I like Skip. He and I share a love for the Dallas Cowboys and the San Antonio Spurs. Skip is also a Christian. I am not a Christian. But I was still chagrined to hear him say that he understands the need teammates have to protect each other. I don’t understand that need. And I don’t understand why so many Christians make excuses for violence-escalation in such circumstances. Even I, as a non-believer, have great respect for the following New Testament verses…
38 You have heard it said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
39 But I say you should resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.
40 And if any man will sue you, and take away your coat, let him have your cloak also.
43 You have heard it said that you should love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
44 But I say, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
41 And whosoever shall compel you to go a mile, go with him twain.
I think Skip Bayless should have made reference to these ideas in his commentary. NOT because we should all be pacifists, and never defend ourselves, but because we should all focus on de-escalation at all times, leaving violent self-defense as an absolute last resort. Back away when a punch is thrown. Don’t start World War One when Archduke Ferdinand is assassinated. Try to still the roiling waters. This is the proper approach for Christians, atheists, over-heated football players, voters, and politicians too.
Blessed are those who de-escalate violence. This is what the future needs.