Get On My Level

Imagine if, when Kanye had all those stars and legends flying in and out Hawaii to help him record My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Def Jam sent some low-rent techies from Honolulu Community College to Avex Recording Studio to engineer those sessions. (I realize this would be more Ye’s call than Def Jam’s, but just roll with me.) Those engineers might have been able to get a local mixtape to sound better than what some C-rated, wannabe emcee could record in the closet of his apartment, but they certainly wouldn’t be ready to handle “All of the Lights” or “Monster.”

It’s an almost implausible scenario to conjure, right? If it had happened, Ye would have been in jail, because I’m sure he’d have flown back to New York City and tried to merk the Def Jam decision-makers. Why? Because it would have been the height of blatant disrespect.  Every artist involved with the album would have seethed at the bush league operation. The snares on “Power” would have sounded like steel drums.  You might have thought it was Danny Brown and not Rozay swooping in “Devil in a Red Dress.”

You don’t get a clan of the best hip-hop artists together to record a could-be classic and leave the engineering to carpenters and real estate agents moonlighting as engineers.

This is what’s going on in the NFL. And this – that is the disrespect shown to the players and coaches while they’re on the job – is what is most despicable.

Fans are up in arms after the Packers-Seahawks’ blown-call debacle. But, as far as I’m concerned, the fans can shut the heezy up. If anyone has the power to end this stalemate between the NFL owners and the officials’ union, it’s the fans. They can stop watching and attending the games, stop buying the jerseys – object to this charade with their wallets. This will not happen because, among other things, this replacement refs’ situation is a referendum on America’s serious – maybe even unhealthy – obsession/addiction to professional football.  Lil Wayne tweeted that he’s going to stop watching the NFL until the professional refs come back. More power to him. The rest of us fans? We’ll keep watching and, with that being the case, we might not want to bump our gums too much about the NFL is doing to us.

The players and coaches, though? Your boy TJ Lang, Packers offensive guard, went mega-in on Twitter. I feel him. Bill Belichick probably waited in the parking lot after Sunday night’s game and split his khakis wrassling with that official. I empathize with their anger and umbrage.

You don’t have local theater stage hands working Broadway plays. Restauranteurs don’t hire four-star chefs and then pilfer servers and greeters from IHOP to work the front.

Sports Illustrated scribe Peter King (one of the NFL’s preeminent chroniclers for several decades) called the Packers-Seahwaks ending “one of the great disgraces in NFL history.” That is no indictment of the replacement refs – at least I hope it isn’t. Those men deserve nothing but our sympathy, forced into an untenable situation and an increasingly hostile climate. I feel for those brothers.

The disgrace is the disrespect being slung the players/coaches’ way. The owners aren’t showing any courtesy for the fact that these men perform on their jobs at a world-class level. You don’t hire rent-a-cops for the Secret Service.

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