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The possible return of Le’Veon Bell this week or next is a testament to the nature of the modern game, and the lengths to which players have to go to ensure their post-playing days financial & physical viability. Returning during a scheduled bye not only guarantees him no contact for another week, it makes sure he collects a cheque.
However, rather than continue to voice opinions on social media, he has taken the opportunity to put his energies into reworking the inspirational poetry of his hero, Walt Whitman.
Much like Walt Whitman was initially derided by his peers for his collection of poems, Le’Veon Bell has been chastised by fans & management for the stance he has taken. Furthermore, it surely is a better use of his time than sniping at teammates like Maurkice Pouncey, who as we all know comes from the Aaron Hernandez “DIE MOTHERFUCKER DIE!” school of settling interpersonal disagreements.
Will history look as favourably on his decisions as Whitman’s? Only time will tell. But it does make for compelling reading, doesn’t it Hank?
Today, he shows us how he’s anticipating meeting the people that help pay his salary – the fans – and the rationale that he’s used to justify the stance he has taken, and how he hopes it will reward he and his team going forward. He has faith that the people of Pittsburgh, for whom union membership is a bastion of their employment and job security, will appreciate the similar stance he has taken to protect his ability to continue working. Much like Whitman, he is not naive and anticipates a hostile reaction to his words, but holds out hope that the masses will see the deeper meanings hidden within.
To a Stranger
Passing stranger! I know how angrily you look at me,
I must be the one you are seeking, the one you wanted to return, (I figured it out listening to KDKA,)
I am clearly living out the life you could but dream,
All is recall’d as I return to the field, triumphant in my resolve,
You wear my jersey in the stands, swear you’ll name a pet after me,
I watched you eat and drink in the stands, you are no longer you but my fan
and I am your return’d hero,
You bade me naught but your best wishes as we pass, you
insist that my return will only boost all spirits,
I wish I could think of the words to use, to respond to your kind wishes, for I
lie awake at night, wondering,
how bless’d I am to have such love, to hear again those words,
“FUCK YOU, LE’VEON! I HOPE YOU GET KILLED!”.
I Hear It Was Charged Against Me
I hear it was charged against me that I sought to destroy the salary cap,
And that I am only looking out for myself,
(Is that not what any man does? Should he not expect honest reward in return?)
Only I will establish in the Yinzzondio and in every stadia in these
States – both grass’d and turf’d,
And in the markets small and large, and on behalf of every tiny safety or giant
tackle that clears the line,
I make my stand on behalf of all my comrades,
Pay me or trade me.
To a President
All you are doing and saying is to America empty threats,
You have not learn’d of Civility—but Prosperity; rather than Civility you have
enabled the owner to treat his employees poorly,
You were not wanted as an owner, and have failed to recognize the limits of your words,
And that your words which mock the Seven only serve to sell
Long, Too Long America
Long, too long America,
Traveling routes all across this land, playing before the screaming masses,
But now, ah now, to learn the value of a man to an organization,
grappling with the knowledge I earn far more than you,
Yet to see you come to my place of employ and claim I am not worth the price,
en-masse, and frequent,
(Yet do I not arrive at your place of employ, en-masse with my fellows, and tell you how to flip Big Macs?)
Magnanimous. You can feel the
contempt collegiality towards the fans dripping from every word. Much as Whitman held the reader in high regard, so to does Le”Veon Bell the average Steeler fan. Which is not surprising, for I hear they do “travel well”.
Tomorrow concludes our literary adventure – Chapter Five: A summation of his feelings, Bell’s reflection upon the great city of Pittsburgh itself, and some parting words on the personal & literary adventure he – and by extension us – has been on during this tumultuous period.