I wrote this article the night of Super Bowl. It is about New Orleans Saints and their media blitz running up to Super Bowl. While it is not my intention to stir-up any controversies, I am willing to put words to thoughts I believe many must be having at that point. The article also details why I am in a unique position to say the things I have conveyed in the article.
Stop Playing the Sympathy Card
Super bowl is perhaps the most watched event on television in the country. However, I have to say I am appalled by seeing everyone come on television in shows leading up to the big game and tell us that in spite of Indianapolis being a better team, New Orleans deserves to win because of the destruction caused by hurricanes in 2005. A few such examples which would make Ayn Rand turn over in her grave include the hypocrisy shown by none other than Saints QB Drew Brees. By his own admittance, he wanted to go to Miami because Saints' future was not certain and Miami is a great city to live in. Now he claims he came to New Orleans because he wanted to be a part of the recovery effort. So the fact that Miami passed him for Culpepper and his agent was able to secure millions of dollars from Saints as starting QB for him had nothing to do with his decision? As a proof of his claim about being a part of the recovery effort, he says that is why he bought a house in uptown New Orleans rather than a suburb. What he fails to mention is that uptown New Orleans is a great area to live in. It houses Tulane University and is one of the most culturally vibrant areas in the city. It does not have high crime rate and is minutes from the Superdome. In a Katie Couric special, we were told that when Brees and his wife first went to New Orleans, coach Payton took a wrong turn and ended in the much publicized Ninth ward and they were very sad to see the devastation. I can tell you that you do not accidentally end up in Ninth ward if you have been living in New Orleans for the time that coach Payton has been living. Perhaps revealing that even today there are tourist tours taken to Ninth ward to show devastation to the tourists, might have gone against the narrative the Saints have been trying to sell to rest of the country. In a pre-game show, another analyst comes on television and says that Saints did not switch their hotel in Miami from they have been staying in for a number of days because they have grown accustomed to living in make-shift arrangements. Please give us a break. Do you think we are so naive that we do not understand how much these millionaire players have to adjust if they move from one 5 star hotel to another?
New Orleans played a good game and beat Indianapolis in a convincing manner. Please tell me they won because they worked harder. They won because they were brave in making decisions during the game and luck favors the brave. Please do not tell me they won because they had to endure a natural calamity. I think the country has given enough back to New Orleans in last 4 years that it is now time for New Orleans to move on and stop playing the sympathy card. 500,000 population of New Orleans was affected by the hurricanes in 2005. Today, more than 360,000 people make a living in New Orleans and while rest of the country is dealing with job-loss and recession, New Orleans has seen positive employment numbers. I for one, feel equally bad about the more than 11 million homes who are dealing with the devastation caused by losing employment. While less dramatic than the natural calamities, this is an economic calamity which every city is dealing with including New York, Indianapolis, Denver, Chicago or Minneapolis-St. Paul to name a few. Do these cities not deserve to win the Super Bowl because their calamity did not make for good television which is high in drama? All I ask is that give us a little credit and do not sell us a narrative which fits a certain dramatic come-back. Millions amongst us are working as hard as they can to make come-backs in their lives without asking for sympathies.
Now, before the hate-mail starts please let it be known that I have been a resident of New Orleans, I was there in 2005. I evacuated a day before Katrina struck and drove for 23 hours non-stop to College Station – Texas (a drive which usually takes 6 hours). I lost my belongings to the hurricanes, as did almost all the people I know from New Orleans. I relied on help from friends and strangers and was disappointed in neither them nor government agencies. I humbly say thank you to all the people of this great country who help, volunteer, donate or pay their taxes and make it possible for 360,000 people to start from a scratch and build their lives again.
What I do not say is that a Super bowl win or anything else is my right because I endured a natural disaster. I would not say that it is my right to get your sympathies. I would rather say thank you and move on. If my team works hard enough, we will deserve to win and nothing else matters. Go Vikings.