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Normality. (Here Below).

THE RESPONSE OF OUR coaches, athletes, and administrators to the tragedy in the World Trade Center was pretty fabulous. Practically everyone called off their games and exhibited great maturity and sensitivity in their public statements.

Our biggest disappointment was the heralded "genius" of the NFL, Mary Levy. He forgot to wear his Phi Beta Kappa key when asked to comment on the murders in the sky. He wanted the NFL to play all its games in the interest of preserving "normality."

He also forgot his history book. He forgot what happened when an NFL commissioner named Pete Rozelle elected to have the NFL play its full complement of games only two days after the President of the United States was assassinated.

The 14 NFL teams played their seven games in almost complete silence. Nobody cheered, booed, applauded, or manifested interest in anything. They felt exactly as we did sitting in Yankee Stadium and watching the Giants beat somebody: "What the hell am I doing here?"

Everyone had this feeling of guilt. Deservedly so. You don't go around looking for entertainment when a great man dies. In this climate, "normality" is respect, honor, and a sensitive reflection.

The Pete Rozelle of 2001 had to be the athletic director who announced that his college was going to play its Saturday game because he believed that football wasn't an entertainment, but an education. And if he called off the game he would deprive his players of an educational experience.

In only one respect did his statement make sense: The kind of football his team played wasn't entertainment.
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Title Annotation:sports schedules after September 11
Author:Masin, Herman L.
Publication:Coach and Athletic Director
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2001
Words:264
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