Jeremy Shockey Is America

As we might have mentioned, the New York Giants are playing the Miami Dolphins in London on Sunday. There. You now have a tiny reason to care about that game. Roger Director, author of I Dream In Blue, has a few more than that. He riffs for us here about Jeremy Shockey, London and what it means to see the NFL on the wrong side of the pond.

Last year the British government decided J.M.W. Turner's watercolor, "The Blue Rigi," was too valuable a possession to be let out of the country and sent to the U.S., so forgive one American for getting a little worked up over allowing them to see one of our national masterpieces, Jeremy Shockey!



On Sunday, the New York Giants' tight end, along with his teammates, is playing the first regular season NFL game outside North America, at London's Wembley Stadium, against the Miami Dolphins. I have no problem with the general concept; teams should be free to cross international boundaries the same way great art is. Trade, commerce, ideas - fine. Let the rest of Big Blue and The Fish tangle, but we've made an incalculable blunder by letting Shockey go.

National treasures should not leave our safekeeping. Shockey! (I always inscribe the name this way because the man is a living, breathing football-playing exclamation; besides, pity the puny period that tries to stop him) should not be exported, even if for only a few days, because it diminishes this country, and puts our identity at risk. It chisels off a piece of our bedrock and blithely puts it in the hands of foreigners who couldn't conclude its net worth even if Sherlock Holmes was on the case.

Do you sleep more soundly knowing Shockey! is here or seeing him displayed on foreign soil standing next to a Beefeater? The answer's simple.

Shockey! is everything America has got going for it.

Shockey! exhibits an insane disregard for his well-being. And so does America.

Shockey! punishes evildoers (in a game his rookie year of 2002, Philadelphia defender Bryan Dawkins broke the Giants' Ike Hilliard's collarbone with a cheap hit. Later in the year, fighting for a playoff spot in the season's last regular-season game, Shockey! caught a crucial touchdown pass in the end zone, came down on top of Dawkins, pasted the football on his opponent's facemask and declared, "That's for Ike."). Well that's just like America. Saddam Hussein took a cheap shot at Kuwait, and we wound up shoving the pigskin in his face, didn't we?

Shockey! sometimes gets carried away and does stupid things. And so does America.

Shockey! likes to party. So does America.

Shockey! has a tattoo. And, look around, so does America.

It took the mere prospect of an agreement to let the United Arab Emirates oversee security operations at our ports for Congress and the rest of us to huff and puff up a hurricane of outrage about how we were compromising our country's strength. And yet, as regards shipping out Shockey! not a peep from the government. Not a word from any of the Presidential candidates. Bill O'Reilly falls silent. Wolf Blitzer spits the bit.

Yeah, I know our borders aren't secure, we're waging a global war against terrorism and California is burning, but where is the Department of Homeland Security when we really need it?