Last week, the headline was emblazoned on the front page of ESPN.com as clear as day. "Lions hope to lift bankrupt Detroit." Talk about lending a whole other level of pressure to an already vital 2013 season for a team.
The fact is, Detroit's recent newsworthy bankruptcy has nothing to do with the Lions, Tigers, Pistons or Red Wings, and none of those teams should feel personal responsibility to lift the spirits of the city saddled by their own bulky governmental mistakes. The people of Michigan are fed up with the way things have been run in Detroit, and tired of hearing stories about financial mismanagement and endless mistakes. The Lions can play for the happiness of those people, but should strive to reach their own personal goals above all else.
Though the comparison fits on some levels and was referenced in the article, Detroit hasn't been hit by a hurricane or other natural disaster on the level of New Orleans and Katrina in 2005. Botched governmental decisions, collusion and countless mistakes by elected leaders who should know and do better which lead to further ruin in an area already struggling for a comeback shouldn't count towards goodwill or pity for an area.
After last years mistakes on the field, the Lions need to focus on reclaiming their own identity and meeting their own expectations. Any pressure should be from within, and not due to external forces in the city where they happen to make their home. By winning, the Lions will lift the spirits of the fans and in turn their city, but they should not play with that end in mind. Detroit dug this latest hole for themselves without the help of the people or the team. The city itself doesn't deserve to have a team playing solely to boost its reputation right now.
If the Lions make the playoffs and have success, the people of Detroit will have reason to be proud, much like they have been for the Tigers and Red Wings lately. These teams play with the name "Detroit" emblazoned on their jerseys, but they don't represent the dysfunctional ideals of the city's hierarchy. Let's put it this way, a player or coach of a Detroit team hasn't skipped town amid allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a minor never to be seen again, only to have their position terminated. Within the city government of Detroit, that recently happened with disgraced city council President Charles Pugh.
In the past, there's also been numerous instances of collusion, as people in Detroit's government used their positions of power to make more money and exploit the people who live, work and occupy the city. Sometimes, there's just ideals nobody should want to be associated with under any circumstance. Those previously mentioned examples count as two. A city struggling to rebuild after a natural disaster would certainly be different, but considering idiocy like that shows up repeatedly and has likely led to the bankruptcy predicament, why should anyone feel bad for Detroit itself?
So what's the message for the 2013 Lions? Win for yourselves first and reclaim your lost identity. Do that, and you'll make the hardworking, deserving fans of Detroit beyond happy. You might also, in turn, get those involved in decision making at city hall to be proud and utter your name, but that's nothing to be proud of or strive for.
Like Detroiters, the Lions should put their heads down, ignore the nonsense around them which will continually persist in their city and just go to work. As of today, the city of Detroit alone doesn't deserve a group of hardworking, talented individuals pulling together and playing for them, considering that's not what anyone in power represents.
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