A statue of Peyton Manning was placed outside the Colts stadium in Indianapolis yesterday. If ever there was an athlete that deserved to be honored in his city, number 18 is that guy, and not only for his feats on the gridiron.
I wonder if future us will look back years from now and see something else in that chunk of bronze? By then football will be banned as a brutal, nasty sport loved and viewed by craven right-wingers and Southeners. A sport just removed from gladiatorial contests of ancient Rome, a sport where men bashed their heads to the point of brain damage, where limbs and backs were broken, where injuries left the participants nearly crippled in old age. The statue will harken to a time civilized society would want to forget. The statue will remind many of the suffering of their grandfathers, the glorification of violence. Will future us see the statue as a representation of the corrupt NFL owners who blackmailed the public to finance their coloseums and practice facilities? Will that statue of old number 18 represent the fabulous wealth some players got at the expense of the balance of the roster? Will it be a symbol of the enormous amount of money colleges made from athletes who got little in comparison in return for their pain and sacrifice on the playing fields? Will future us wonder why a predominance of the rosters of this dangerous activity were minorities?
Will there be a movement to rip this statue down, to put it in a museum where "context" can be applied? Will it just be tossed into a park full of old broken statues like the one on Moscow that is littered with pieces of old Lenins and Stalins? Will we be ashamed of that statue of old number 18? Will there be clashes of old clingers in their faded football jerseys fighting modern soccer fans and their enlightened scoreless games, where fans and participants leave with self-esteem intact and bellies full of prepared slices of organic oranges? "Save the statue!". "Tear it down!".
Will future us be able to view history through a cloud of modern bias? Probably not. Don't worry, though. By the time that stadium is fifteen or twenty years old the owners of the Colts franchise will demand a new facility and the statue will be chucked right along with he perfectly good building it stands beside.