No End Zone in Sight for Ohio GOP Rep, a Former NFL Player

Rep. Gonzalez will have no end zone celebration, as he is being blitzed by Republicans for daring to vote for impeachment.

Pity poor Anthony Gonzalez. Congressman Gonzalez, who played in the NFL for five years before injuries cut short his career, became the first Latino ever to be elected to the House of Representatives from the state of Ohio in 2018. Now in his second term, Rep. Gonzalez was the pride of Cleveland and of Ohio State University (where he studied the fine art of pass receiving and found the end zone often), then became a local businessman after taking an MBA at Stanford.

No End Zone in sight. Anthony GonzalezA fine combination of brains and brawn: sound mind housed in all-pro body, or so it seemed, until he had the temerity to join nine other Republicans in voting to convict Donald Trump of attempting to overthrow his own government, just last month. Now Rep. Gonzalez is being blitzed, blind-sided and all but sacked by the Republican body politic, which lost its mind five years ago, and is running its own inmates out of the lunatic asylum.

Gonzalez voted to acquit Trump in 2020, proving that there were still a few muscles between his ears, as well as some muscle that kept him from going offside after he read the Mueller playbook. In the interim, he changed his mind, perhaps realizing that there were no referees around on January 6th, when the Electoral Bowl was marred by personal and offensive fouls that should have resulted in granting an immediate forfeit to the team in blue, with hefty fines and severe disciplinary action taken against spectators on the field–not to mention their absentee agents, watching the game on TV. Emerging from the House clubhouse after reviewing all the films, it would only be natural to experience a profound crisis of conscience, unless, like most of Trump’s trunk full of pachyderm pigskin team, one had none, and therefore saw nothing amiss in being made newly eligible for whose coup.

Whatever made Mr. Gonzalez go out of bounds, he is suffering for it, as if he were responsible for the final score that day. After voting “guilty” on the impeachment charge brought against Donald Trump in January, 2021, his constituents began calling his number — as in, “traitor,” and many that are unprintable, even in cyberspace.

One local entrepreneur hinted (not very subtly) that Gonzalez would soon find himself out of a job — as early as 2022. Others in the rankled ranks thought he should be benched and lose his letter of the law immediately. But the most devastating tackle came from Shannon Burns, head of the local GOP in Strongsville (a town no one should take lightly).

Ms. Burns left no doubt as to what she (and her “grassroots organization”) think of Gonzalez’ improvising a play at the line of impeachment, as well as deviating from an elephantine orthodoxy: “This is like him playing for the Buckeyes again, getting down to the two-minute warning, running into the locker room, getting a Michigan jersey and running back out… It’s not that you turned your back or you did something that we didn’t like. You did the unthinkable.”

To hear Coach Burns talk, Rep. Gonzalez just launched a nuclear war, in collusion with Herman Kahn, Henry Kissinger, and Hyman Rickover: legendary “H” formation offense devised by Amos Alonzo Strangelove. I thought it was Old No. 45 who said (and did) the unthinkable, not just once but for four straight years, until they made him hang up his cleats.

I must have gotten all my signals crossed in the huddle, listening to the huge crowd at the Capitol chanting “Kill one for the Trumper!” even as the National Guard performed, during that spectacular overtime show. No wonder Congress yelled time-out, just to watch the illegal fireworks. Luckily, Trump’s last pass was overthrown too, out of the end zone. (Where is Colin Kaepernick when The Donald needs him most?).

So now he is sitting on the bench, waiting for a signal from the sidelines that he has been red-shirted for next election season. Meanwhile, Sherree Burns and her cohorts are out scouting for scapegoats. Has it ever occurred to her that, far from being disloyal, “Tony” Gonzalez (not to be confused with his namesake, a Hall of Fame wide receiver who supported Barack Obama in 2008, and has the audacity to live in a state where the politics is as blue as the water) was just trying to get even with Alabama for beating Ohio State in the BCS Bowl, without treading on Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s toes?

Granted, Tuberville once coached Auburn, not the Crimson Tide — but Trump doesn’t know the difference. (He even conflated Nick Saban with his father, thus visiting the sins of Buffalo Bill upon the sons of the South). So who can blame Gonzalez for being upset? Ronald Reagan didn’t make that mistake — he died on cue, when it was time for him to go.

If Sherree Burns wants to learn a lesson from the Fighting Irish, she should leave the poor kid alone. It’s hard enough hearing Pat O’Brien give that same pep talk over and over, without turning a scrimmage into a riot, and the Gipper into a liar — which he was, from the moment he flew to Bitburg to salute all the crime people on both sides of the wall, thus settling a fascist score with a touchdown for terrorism. Despite rad precedent, why oh why oh, why did it have to be Ohio? Did someone get an extra point by throwing Hispanics for a loss? Burn on, Cuyahoga! Was it “an eye for a buckeye,” or an alt-right witch hunt? Quoth the Trojan: if the article fits, you must convict.

Dennis Rohatyn
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