by David Sisler

Jerome “The Bus” Bettis is not an ordinary professional football player. During the 2004 season, he was chosen for the Pro Bowl for the sixth time as a Pittsburgh Steeler, thanks in large measure to his gaining 100 yards in all but one of his seven starts, and completing the season with 941 rushing yards.

You would think that such a season, indeed, such a career, would call for a pay raise – an appreciation for a job well done, and an anticipation of the upcoming season. You’d be wrong.

For the second consecutive season, the man who is number five on the all-time career rushing list, agreed to a substantial pay cut to stay in Pittsburgh.

In order to get under this year’s $85.5 million dollar salary cap, the Steelers offered Bettis a $2.7 million dollar pay cut for the 2005 season. And in order to play one more year, perhaps his last season in pro ball, with the Steelers, The Bus agreed (his $5.4 million salary for 2006 was similarly scrapped).

A player of Bettis’ caliber could have taken his stats and his skills to another team and would have been rewarded with the $10 million two-year paycheck he turned down to stay in Pittsburgh.

Jerome Bettis can be described by many adjectives, but one of them certainly has to be “unselfish.”

Contrast Bettis with two men who have been in the news recently – one whose name we know, one whose name is kept secret to protect his privacy.

The man whose name we do not know, but who certainly should have no consideration of privacy of any kind, is a New York man who sparked fears of a powerful new strain of HIV.

In the months before his diagnosis, the unnamed patient had unprotected sex with more than 100 men. The strain of the AIDS virus that he is carrying is resistant to 19 of the 20 drugs which are currently used to fight HIV, and becomes full-blown AIDS in months, not years.

This sicko had wild orgies fueled by crystal meth. If his 100 sex partners have also had unprotected sexual contact, the fear being expressed at the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center in Manhattan and at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are well justified. A new superbug which has the potential to be more deadly than any strain of HIV yet seen is a very real possibility – thanks to a 40-year-old man whose personal gratification was selfishly fulfilled.

The third man in this selfish-unselfish scenario is Michael Schiavo, the man who is trying to kill Terri Schiavo.

After Terri suffered catastrophic brain damage in 1990, her husband, Michael, soon forgot that he was married.

I do not know the marriage vows that Terri Schindler and Michael Schiavo pledge to each other, but they were probably similar to the ones most of us have taken: “I will be faithful to you ... in sickness and in health, for better or for worse ... as long as we both shall live.”

For the last ten years, Michael Schiavo has been living as though he never made those promises to Terri. A fact that the news media rarely comments on is that while his wife has been a patient in a health care facility, totally dependant upon others, Michael moved in with another woman and fathered children in an adulterous relationship.

One of the keys of marriage – whether both parties are well or not – is unselfishness. Giving to each other. The husband giving, and being willing to give, himself for his wife – unselfishly – in the fashion demonstrated by Jesus Christ and his love for his Bride, the Church (not Mary Magdalene, as Dan Brown would have you believe).

Selfishness says, “My wife is brain dead and I deserve a life.”

Selfishness says, “It is time for my brain-injured wife to die, regardless of the wishes of her parents.”

Selfishness says, “I still have a big commitment to Terri. I made her a promise.”

Michael Schiavo did not, as far as I know, utter the first two quotes above. His behavior has acted them out, however. But the third is from his own lips.

He must let Terri die now, he says, because he has unfulfilled promises to her.

Never mind that he did not keep his promise of being faithful to his wife no matter what happened in their lives. Sleeping with another woman, Michael must now keep his promises to Terri and kill her. Excuse me, pull her feeding tube and let her die.

If Terri Schiavo had remained in good health, and if her husband had moved in with another woman, she would probably have divorced him. Because Michael’s adultery appeared after control of Terri’s life passed out of Terri’s hands, the man who abandoned her for the comfort of another woman now has the final say over whether Terri Schiavo lives or dies.

Michael Schiavo has totally disqualified himself from being Terri’s husband, but his selfishness will have the final word for her life.


Copyright 2005 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

Your comment is welcome.
Write to me at:

Back to David Sisler's Home Page