“Everybody loves a winner,” sang Linda Ronstadt on her 1973 album Don’t Cry Now.“ But when you lose,” she added, “you lose alone.”
One might add: especially in America.
A current case in point came Sunday night, during the Super Bowl post-game ceremony. After the game ended, and we all came back from commercial break, the public address announcer at Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis introduced NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
As a long-time sports fan, I’ve watched such ceremonies many times before. What I expected was for the commish to begin by commending the losing Patriots on their effort. Only then, with the agony of defeat acknowledged and softened, would the winners be congratulated and praised.
Not so, in this case. Goodelll didn’t even mention the Patriots. He started by thanking the league’s fans for their support. This was understandable and appropriate — especially considering that the NFL season began belatedly because the owners had locked out the players in a labor dispute.
From expression of gratitude to the fans, however, Goodell didn’t make the obvious next move. That would have been to recognize the second-place Patriots for a remarkable season that ended one play short of the championship.
Goodell didn’t do that. He ignored the Pats completely and moved immediately to laud the winning Giants for their victory.
What a perverse culture we have to permit such behavior.
And, by extension, what a challenge ex-offenders have, trying to reenter society after being labeled as “losers” because they went to prison.