Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey may have gone out of business, but there are still plenty of clowns to go around.
They perform in the National Football League, and provide adoring fans with all kinds of non-football-related antics.
The season is still around the corner, but some players are in mid-season shenanigan form.
One of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Jalen Ramsey, arrived at camp in an armored car, surrounded by phony bank money bags.
When the rear doors were opened, he was introduced by comedian Ha Ha Davis, who said, “It’s time to get this money, money.”
Ramsey is stuck with a $13.7 million contract for 2019, and he feels like he deserves much more.
Out west, Antonio Brown, a member of the Oakland Raiders, arrived to training camp in a hot air balloon.
These are exactly the kind of guys I’d like to have on my team. If I were organizing a vaudeville show in Benson.
In pro football — and elsewhere in sport (including the United States women’s national soccer team) — there is a lot of theater that goes on before, during, and after a game that didn’t used to be there.
It probably is appreciated by younger fans (than I am).
Professional golf is still safe, but just about everywhere else there are choreographed celebrations and self-aggrandizement galore.
I say: Score a touchdown and hand the ball to the referee. Don’t signal your buddies to meet you in the end zone, form a circle, and do a tribute to Don Cornelius.
Humble, apparently, went out with Uriah Heep.
Ramsey has been a professional football player for two years. He signed a $23.3 million rookie contract.
He is in the third year of the contract, and I guess he thinks $13.7 million simply isn’t enough of a reward for a two-time Pro Bowl cornerback.
Davis, the comedian who introduced Ramsey, yelled, “The man, the myth, Jalen Ramsey,” and a string of “He’s so good” jokes that were as funny as the Mueller hearing.
Last week, a friend sent me a YouTube of personalities who have died in 2019, and among them were Bart Starr, John Havlicek, Don Newcombe and Bill Buckner, none of whom arrived to camp in a hot air balloon.
Times change. Expectations change.
I never saw my favorite baseball player, Ted Williams, on “The Tonight Show.”
Megan Rapinoe, on the other hand, has been on everything except those airfryer oven commercials.
We are an entertainment-driven world. Everyone might be the next reality television star, or the next nobody to be given a new car on “Ellen” for saving a parakeet’s life.
I do not underestimate the value of an ego. Without one, there would be no artists, musicians, actors, or opinion columnists.
But enough about me. Let’s talk about me.
As Newton said, there is always an equal and opposite, and that’s true in professional sports as well.
Some pro football players arrived to camp in modest vehicles, spoke modestly, and dressed modestly, and actually had something to say worth listening to.
But it’s the squeaky clowns that get the grease.
And those are the ones who get the press. Not the guy who shows up in a Dodge Dart and goes about his business.
Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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