Thomas McKenzie
by grace alone
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Thomas' Blog

Thomas McKenzie's Blog.

The Big Game


Yesterday, I got to go to the big game. Now, it wasn't that big a game for most people. It was a regular season NFL game between two teams that aren't even in the same conference (Titans vs. the Cowboys). However, it was a big game for me for a number of reasons.

First, it was the Cowboys. I have been a Cowboys fan since I can remember. Growing up in West Texas, in the 70s, they were my heroes. One of my cherished memories is meeting some of them on an airplane once. Weirdly enough, for all the love I have for the Cowboys, I have never seen them play "live." I've never been in the stands. So, this was HUGE for me.

Second, it was Vince Young's first start. I am a big Vince Young fan. He's my fellow Longhorn, and the guy who led the horns to the National Title last year. I have a lot of hope for him. Sure he looks like a rookie right now. He is! Just go back and look at Peyton Manning's first season in the NFL and then we can talk about potential.

Third, and this was a surprise, this was the game where they retired Warren Moon's number (number one). Sure, he was an Oiler, and I was no big Oiler fan. But, he played in Texas. More than that, his success addressed some of the nasty racism we sometimes see in sports. I have always had a great deal of respect for him.

Fourth, and this was no surprise, I got to see my beloved Cowboys kick some butt. The Cowboys may not be that great (who know?), but the Titans . . . how do I say this . . . they bring out the best in other teams. They made my team look like the great team of the early 90s (three Super Bowl wins in four years).

However, there was another reason this was a "big game." Unfortunately, this was the game in which one man assaulted another on the field. So, to sum up this blog, I am going to post a letter I e-mailed to the Mayor of Nashville and the Chief of Police of Metro. If you want to contact them, they are at mayor@nashville.gov and chiefofpolice@nashville.gov .

Dear Mayor Purcell and Chief Serpas,

My name is Father Thomas McKenzie. I am the pastor of Church of the Redeemer (Anglican) at 920 Caldwell Lane in Nashville . I have lived in Nashville since 1999. I am writing on behalf of myself, my family, and our community.

Yesterday, I was fortunate to be invited by friends to attend the Titan's home game against the Dallas Cowboys. It was a huge treat for me, because the Titans are my adopted team and the Cowboys are the hero-team of my childhood (having grown up in West Texas ). While attending the game, I witnessed what can only be considered a crime. Like thousands of others in the stands, and like millions now world-wide, I saw Albert Haynesworth brutally attack Andre Gurode.

The attack was way beyond the bounds of even the most aggressive football behavior. Football is a violent sport, no doubt. There have been many incidents throughout the years of late hits, spitting, harsh words, and even fists thrown in anger. This, however, was outrageous. Using his cleats, Mr. Haynesworth savagely stomped on and cut Mr. Gurode's face while Mr. Gurode was lying helpless on the ground. The play had been long over, and Mr. Gurode had lost his helmet.

My wife and children soon heard of the event on television. Now I have to talk to my 5 and 7 year old about the attack. Am I supposed to tell them that if you viciously slash a helpless man's face in the mall it is a crime, but if you do it on the football field it’s a matter for the NFL? Does the NFL have crime enforcement powers in our city? Is the law suspended when you walk onto a football field?

I love football. I recognize that violence is part of the game. But this was not football, this was a criminal act.

Therefore, as a fellow citizen of our city, I am asking you to arrest Albert Haynesworth. Certainly he is innocent until proven guilty, but I believe a Grand Jury would certainly find reason to charge him with assault, perhaps with a deadly weapon.

If we don’t take this action, what are we saying to our children? What are we saying to other criminals in our city? What are we saying to a nation-wide and world-wide audience? Fans of the NFL all over the world are about to find out if Nashville is a city of justice and principle, or if we are the cowardly servant of the NFL.

Thomas+