Not Sexy Enough

By Gary Norris Gray, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: July 8, 2009

CALIFORNIA (BASN) — This past spring the Dallas Cowboys rookies and their coaches had to scramble to safety after a strong storm passed their practice facilities.

The tragic weather incident in Texas with the Dallas Cowboy practice bubble collapsing on the players and coaches inside with tornado type winds swirling around the facilities. This May’s second storm put many players and coaches in the hospital and had one coach entering the disabled world forever with a broken back.

Cowboys’ Scouting Assistant Rich Behn, 33, had surgery the day after the incident to stabilize his fractured thoracic spine. It will take heroic efforts for him to ever walk again. Behn will now need physical and mental therapy for at least three years or more to improve his motor and mental skills.

These are the stories that ESPN and other sports networks should have in the discussion. The issue of the safety of the players and the coaches of the NFL, MLB, and the NBA, is once again a subject the networks refuse on the sports front pages.

These are the issues the Retired Football Players Association have been talking about for years – to a deaf audience. This story is not sexy enough, not controversial enough, these stories do not have a racial angle, so this story is boring to these sports networking executives.

These stories cannot be spun to their taste, the networks have to report the facts and that art of reporting facts has become more difficult for the networks to achieve. Slander sells, juicy sexual stories sells, and racial innuendo sells.

Accidents happen, people get injured and that is a fact of life. They should be reported accurately and factually from the beginning to its conclusion.

There has not been a major article or story since the incident in Texas accorded this past spring. These are the stories many Americans want to hear, but the networks will not air because it will not sell in a beauty contest.

This is not Miss America; so let it go. This is Shrek , the big green ogre in the room – and nobody wants to be around an ogre.

Disability in the United States is still a touchy subject and many in the media industry treat this subject with kid gloves. Once you grow up as a disabled adult most don’t want to see you again, disabled kids are cute just ask Jerry Lewis.

Hey, we’re human too. We have good and bad disabled people, we have gangsters and entrepreneurs, freedom fighters like Harriett Tubman, geniuses like Steven Hawkins, Singers like Stevie Wonder and Teddy Pendergrass, baseball players like John Curtis Pride, and yes we have a Miss Wheelchair America!

Disabled people love and play sports. Don’t let my 160 League Bowling average fool you. Many times attending different bowling facilities in California people just stop to watch a disabled person roll the ball down the lanes.

Coach Behn will learn all of these new things in his life. Yes, it will be frustrating, but with his football training he will be in good hands. The Cowboy Training Facilities was built by Summit Structures of Allentown, Pa.

This company has been under investigation for other structure failures in Philadelphia, New York, and Oregon. The sports networks should have an ongoing investigation into the administration of this building company and report their findings to the American public.

Instead, after days of intense reporting, these networks walked away from the story, why? These so called investigative sports networks did not want to offend the NFL, the building company, or the Dallas organization.

These networks stop reporting because they might find evidence that the building company, the NFL, and the Cowboys may be liable. The networks will not report on this young man paralyzed for life until he files a lawsuit against the NFL, the Cowboys, or Summit Structures Company.

But there will be the many doctors appointments, the many physical therapy sessions building up the muscles that were lost during the accident. This is what America missed these past few months.

This is what the national sports networks did not report.

On June 6, Rich Behn returned to the Dallas training facilities in his new wheelchair ready for work. This shows the determination of this strong young man. He has a wife and three young children and they will need continuing help with each passing year.

Behn will need medical supplies such as a wheelchair, medical bed, in home support care worker, a special car for him to drive, to change his present home to become wheelchair accessible, and mental assistance for those hard times.

There is a trust fund for the Behn family. You can make checks out to:

The Rich Behn Family Trust Fund

Bank of America

c/o Shelby Kirksey

5500 Preston Road Suite B

Dallas, Texas 75205

This writer will continue the progress of Rich Behn. Maybe the national sports networks need to look in the mirror and ask what is their purpose — to entertain or inform?