You are reading a rare, detailed account of everyday life in Stateville Prison.

Click to read Paul's blog quoted on:
To contact Paul, please email:
or write him at the address shown in the right column. He will get your message personally.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The NFL Under Siege -- September 13, 2014

Prisoners were happy for the professional football season to begin. At the maximum security penitentiaries of Illinois there are few activities to keep men preoccupied and lock downs are common. For many inmates, football is an escape from the doldrums of prison. Weekly, there are exciting games to be watched on television and the accompanied programming. There are also fantasy leagues, parlays, and other types of wagers. The sport, however, much to men's dismay, has come under siege by liberals intent on transforming society. Manipulating the public through mass media is central to their nefarious plot to tear down traditional values and institutions. Instead of communist revolutions where governments are overthrown, the radical left in Western democracies engages in a culture war where nothing is off limits. Led by militant feminism, the NFL is currently in the cross-hairs.

Since mid-summer prisoners have been eagerly anticipating the first week of pro-football games. For me personally, however, it was not in my thoughts. There are many other preoccupations and interests which consume my time. I exercise nearly every day whether in the cell or on one of the prison yards. I am regularly reading newspapers, magazines, and corporate reports. Following the stock market and economy along with crunching data into various charts is an enormous effort without access to the Internet or a computer. This blog also takes up a lot of my time writing not only posts but replying to comments and emails. Lastly, there is the continuous struggle to be exonerated from a murder I was not the least bit peripherally involved in or even aware of. Adding football into my busy schedule was not a priority and I did not begin to pay any attention to it until the news media began to barrage the NFL for being indifferent to domestic violence.

In February, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and his fiance (now wife) Janay Palmer got into a fight at a hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Despite making up soon thereafter, both were charged with non-felony assault for the incident. Rice plead guilty and was sentenced to court supervision where he participated in a behavior therapy program. Nothing was heard of the matter until the sleazy television show TMZ released a video of the NFL superstar pulling out his unconscious girlfriend from an elevator. The video went viral with the help of the liberal media, and before the football season began. Ray Rice was suspended for two games. Feminists demanded more and last week the NFL created a new policy of automatically suspending any player accused of domestic violence to a minimum of six games. How little NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell understood that the culture communists can never be appeased and they would soon be calling for his head.

A day before the first regular season opening game on Thursday, a cell house worker came to my cell bars ostensibly to talk about football. He was annoyed about the media distraction. Instead of talking about the sport, he rambled on and on incessantly about the issue of domestic violence. I could not agree more and was looking forward to the Green Bay Packers - Seattle Seahawks game which seemed to get lost in all the self created media controversy. Mentioning the game, I gave the gambling addict a segue to ask me who I liked. When I told him I would be rooting for the Packers, he told me he would give me 9 points in a wager. I accepted the bet but later he reneged. This was fortunate because the former Superbowl Champions won 36 to 16.

Sunday morning I delayed my cell workout to watch "Colin's Football Show" on ESPN. Colin Cowherd has an amusing half hour program and I knew he would not mention Ray Rice or the plight of all the women who live in abusive relationships unless to joke about it. What I like about Colin's Football Show was not only the off-kilter humor, but that he always had a Las Vegas insider as a guest. This guest discusses what teams the public and professional gamblers were putting their money on. The professionals are called "sharps" insinuating they are sharper in picking winners. The sharps liked a number of teams including the Saints who they thought were a "lock". From my experience, there was no such thing as a lock unless a better was privy to a game being fixed and sure enough the Saints lost.

Continuing our tradition from last year, my cellmate and I pick all the games with the spread. We do not wager any commissary and just do it for bragging rights. Out of a total of 16 games, I won 11 including the Sunday night match up between the Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts which I thought I lost when going to sleep at half time. The score was 20 to 7 and I was too tired to see if the Colts made a comeback. When I awakened in the morning, I saw a little folded piece of paper on my breakfast tray. It said, "24-31 Broncos". The Broncos had won but because I had a 7-1/2 point handicap, the game went to me.

Monday morning, prisoners were brought back from assignments and a pre-GED class. The penitentiary was again on lock down for reasons which were unclear. I heard rumors of an inmate dying from a drug overdose to weapons being discovered by security personnel. Maximum and high medium security prisons in Illinois go on lock downs regularly and sometimes for the most absurd reasons. While I was shaving at the front bars of my cell, I heard convicts shout "Warden in the cell house!" In fact, the warden along with a couple of his assistants was making rounds. One of them I knew as a former member of Internal Affairs and also as a guard at Joliet Correctional Center. If he walked by, I thought I may ask him although administrators will rarely say. Anything remotely considered a security matter is treated as top secret information.

It was my neighbor's birthday and I debated making him a Leprechaun or Mini-Me card. Celebrating another orbit of the earth around the sun seemed strange to me particularly when you were 54 and would die in prison, but I knew other prisoners appreciated the special attention. My neighbor never receives any mail and no one cares that he exists outside these walls. At least I could do is draw him a few silly pictures and give him a cinnamon roll. Thus, I took out a sheet of white paper and folded it in half. On the front I wrote "Happy Birthday Leprechaun" in Celtic script. Beneath it I drew a leprechaun using the advertising on an O'Brien's sausage package. On the inside, I drew a rainbow with a pot of gold using various colors in my colored pencil set. Above the picture I wrote, "I hope you find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but if you don't...." and pondered a clever ending. I was simply going to say "here is a cinnamon roll," however, my cellmate said he ate the treat I had been saving. I told him he was a fat bastard and now I had to come up with a new present and ending to my card. My cellmate associates rainbows with queers and suggested I write "Here is a big fat juicy pickle". Since the last time we went to the prison store, I have been making fun of Anthony for buying several pickles that had advertising on the packaging in bold letters as being "big fat and juicy". I laughed at his joke, but then erased the "but if you don't..." and put at the bottom of his card, "From your friends next door". Leprechaun seemed overly happy when I gave him the card and I was uncertain if he was being sincere.

My sister's birthday is next week and I thought she may possibly appreciate a nicely written letter as much as my neighbor liked the card I made him. I have not seen my sister in over a year nor have I spoken to her on the phone since Securus changed its collect call policy. Occasionally, I wonder if she even wants to be reminded she has a brother in prison. It has been over 21 years since my arrest and since that time family has slowly faded out of my life. Thinking about me may be similar to thinking about those who have died long ago. Thus, I do not encourage family members to stay in touch or visit my tombstone.

I took a nap but made sure to awaken in time to watch the football show "NFL Live". I was looking forward to seeing all the highlights from Sunday's games and the commentary, however, the program was cancelled. In its place ESPN had continuous reporting of Ray Rice being indefinitely suspended from the NFL. What could have possibly occurred for the NFL to take such an absurd measure? It was not long before I was to see a newly released video of the football player punching his fiance in the elevator. Apparently, TMZ had it on their show and once again the liberal media was in a frenzy. The power the radical left had was repugnant to me and I quickly turned off the television.

Former football player Delon Sanders was a guest on the TV show "Running Wild" with Bear Grylls, but I did not want to think about football. The sport has declined so much since I was a child and watched Mike Ditka's Chicago Bears win the Superbowl in 1986. There were numerous new rules to make the game safer and less violent. Penalties for unnecessary roughness had come to the point of absurdity. They may as well just be playing flag football. For the entire month of October, they have players dressed in pink and this year for the first time in history an open homosexual was drafted. The media was jubilant when Michael Sam was picked up by the St. Louis Rams, although mum when later released. The sport of football has been pansied greatly already and yet man hating feminists are still pressing for their castration.

In lieu of football, I read a couple of financial newspapers until I went to bed. In a Barron's I was stunned to read that a court had ruled British Petroleum was guilty of gross negligence in connection with the 2010 Gulf spill. The events which led to the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig seemed to be a series of accidents where no party could be held to such a high standard of liability. I assume the vast negative media coverage had swayed the lower court and the ruling will be appealed. However, in the meantime, BP is potentially liable for billions more in damages and the share price dropped nearly 10% below $44. I suppose it was good I recommended a family member to sell it at $50 albeit on fears of losing its 20% stake in the Russian oil giant Rosneft.

For breakfast Tuesday, prisoners were given a couple of rolls, canned pears, and an uncooked soy patty. As customary, I watched the news while I ate. The top story on all the news stations was, of course, Ray Rice and the video of him south pawing his fiance causing her to fall over hitting an elevator handrail. The mass media liked showing that left hook, but generally absent was what happened just before. In the casino, a drunk Janay Palmer was acting uncouth and belligerent. Once in the elevator, she struck and spit on Ray, and when she went to hit him again is when he blasted her. Feminists like to have their cake and eat it too. On one hand, they propagate that the sexes are equal. However, then it is always wrong to hit a woman. The day before, my cellmate watched the beloved black female tennis star Serena Williams defeat Caroline Wozniaki in the U.S. Open Championship game. I asked Anthony what he thought the liberal media's reaction would be if her boyfriend slapped and spit on her and she responded with an upper cut. "Nothing," he said. "There would be neither condemnation nor demand on the Women's Tennis Association to ban her from playing."

Because all the television news stations available to watch at Stateville have a liberal slant, I often listen to conservative radio. My favorite radio talk show host is Rush Limbaugh and at 11 a.m. I tuned into his program. He also discussed the irony of feminists claiming equality of the sexes but demanding special treatment, rights, and victim status. On television he went on to say how men were depicted as buffoons and women were smart, strong, and responsible. If this was indeed the case, why do they need preferential treatment in relationships, the workforce, sports, and etc.? What struck me as most observant was the public reaction to imagery. In the case of Michael Vick there was no video of him mistreating dogs or at a dog fight. Had there been one, he may never have been allowed to return to the NFL. Then Limbaugh turned to global events and politics. It was not until pictures of starving Somalian children were publicized that the Clinton administration sent troops in which eventually went sour as depicted in the movie Blackhawk Down. There was also the Obama administration which only reluctantly is becoming involved in Iraq after videos of beheadings by ISIS were shown on the Internet and widely reported about on television. Pictures stir emotions in people. The facts in the domestic fight between Ray Rice and Janay Palmer were well known yet feminists were not able to use it as a war cry until the videos were released. I doubt the feminists were happy to learn that Janay and Ray got married shortly after that incident.

After only a couple of days, prisoners were annoying guards with inquiries of how long they thought the lockdown would continue. I overheard one guard tersely respond that he did not know, and he probably was telling the truth. The administration makes the decision and the reasons for the lockdown were obscure. I knew guards enjoyed relaxing most of the day with no movement but that they disliked doing all the work inmates normally would be doing such as passing out trays, picking up garbage, and distributing supplies. Thus, I will occasionally razz them when they must do the menial labor. On Wednesday morning while I was working out, a guard dropped a breakfast tray on the gallery spilling the soy gravy which was inside. I told him, "Now go clean that up you clumsy turnkey". He returned with a rag to wipe up the mess whereupon I told him he was doing a good job.

The cell house was uncannily quiet on Wednesday and I assume prisoners stayed up late watching TV or were beginning to adjust to the lockdown status. Even my cellmate did not awaken until noon. I do not change my routine, however, and had gone through my normal morning ritual. I also again tuned in to Rush Limbaugh to hear more of the bombastic, although very entertaining and frank, radio talk show host's opinions on the Ray Rice scandal. Liberal television news was now demanding that Roger Goodell be fired for not suspending Rice indefinitely long before the video was publicized. He already knew what had occurred and why did he not get the tape? Why were all these other men who allegedly struck their wives or girlfriends not punished? Goodell had increased the punishment to 6 games and appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to lead an independent investigation. However, the more he pandered to the left wing radicals, the more they smelled blood. Militant feminism was at war with the very sport of football because of its glorification of violence, brute force, and athletic excellence. It was a masculine sport which had to be done away with. America had to be changed until men were castrated, wore pink, and sat down to take a piss.

The USA Today is a liberal rag of a newspaper, however, for the NFL season I had subscribed. In the evening, I was handed 3 issues all of which attacked the professional football league and promoted feminist issues. The Tuesday paper even had a bold front page headline of "SACKED" and a photo of Ray Rice underneath. I had purchased this newspaper solely for its coverage of sports, but throughout it were editorials from groups like INCITE, a coalition to end violence against women and transgender people of color. As I read the vile propaganda, I could not help but write my opinions and humor in the margins for all the men who thereafter would read it. Underneath the photo of Ray Rice I wrote "MY HERO!"

A terrible meal was served for dinner and I set about making burritos with food purchased from the commissary. It was not an easy task given the limitations in a maximum security prison and I had to improvise as well as be creative. This time I made extra food for my neighbor in lieu of a birthday gift. When I handed him the burritos between the cell wall which divided us, he had the nerve to ask me if I put any fish or mustard in them. Leprechaun was purportedly allergic to fish and hated the taste of mustard. I told him of course not, however, later after he ate them I asked if he needed a med tech. "Why?" Leprechaun asked. I told him that I had mixed a little tuna in the burritos and thought he might be breaking out in hives or gasping for breath.

Thursday morning I prepared for a raid by the Orange Crush. There were rumors of the SORT conducting searches and I did not want to be caught off guard. Sure enough, after lunch trays were passed out approximately 100 men dressed in full tactical gear and their infamous bright orange jumpsuits rushed into the building. The only heads up prisoners got was when the cold water was turned off. Everyone who has been in a maximum security penitentiary for any length of time knew what that meant. The Orange Crush did not take everyone out of their cells, but only about a quarter of the unit. Fortunately, my cellmate and I were not targeted, but for the 3 hours they ransacked cells, I was too distracted to do anything except observe the goings-on and bitterly talk to my cellmate about my case.

The Orange Crush was not as loud, intimidating, or destructive as they typically are. They did remove about 50 trash bags of miscellaneous property and garbage as well as one TV and radio. Later I heard prisoners complain of things they took. It was mostly trivial stuff such as pens, bowls, some food, pop bottles, and extra state property. Few disciplinary tickets were written and only one prisoner was sent directly to Segregation for having contraband. From what I could discern, the guards were not only doing a sweep but searching for weapons. With much bravado, I told my cellmate I had no need for them because I had these and held up my fists. After a couple of combinations ending in a left hook, I asked him rhetorically if he saw the Ray Rice video and then said, "That can K.O. the most militant feminazi."

I was hyping my cellmate up for the Thursday night NFL game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens. I never really liked the Ravens, however, because of the attacks by the liberal media on the team I was now a big fan. I was also symbolically wearing a Ray Rice jersey simply because thousands of people were brainwashed to turn theirs in. What happened in his relationship was none of my business. What mattered was how he played on the field and the integrity of the sport. The Baltimore Ravens crushed the Steelers 26 to 6 and I cheered mightily. I wish that the cultural communists could also be defeated so decisively. There is a civil war going on in the hearts and minds of Americans. The NFL is not only under siege. We all are.