I acknowledge this is easy to write now in the beginning of summer where the streets aren’t filled with hooligans doing the football stuff everywhere, but it’s on my mind now, so now I write it.
I think I’m done with the NFL, and it really has nothing to do with the product on the field. That stuff I’m actually pretty cool with. It’s by no means my favorite sport to watch, easily trailing Basketball and slightly behind hockey, but I like it. The problem is everything surrounding the league. There are tonnes and tonnes of issues that really aren’t ever looked at in depth. I’d love to do it now, but that would require lots of research and well over two thousand words. Instead, I’ll just run some stuff off the top of my head. I’m using Albert Haynesworth’s situation now to exemplify all the problems I have with the NFL.
The very first and most important part is how it’s covered. The way the media treats the NFL is ridiculous. I don’t understand how people can be so into it. That’s neither here nor there. The thing is how they cover the players. It’s just unconscionable.
The current news is that Albert Haynesworth doesn’t want to play for the redskins because they changed the terms he’d be working under. I don’t know how anyone finds this to be unreasonable. He was hired under the pretense that he’d be used in a certain position, he did that and was paid for it. Now they want to change his position to a more dangerous one and he wants no part of it. If you at all keep up with sports news you know that this is not how it’s being reported. Instead everyone is saying how this fat guy is getting paid so much money and should just shut up and go to work.
I’m glad none of them have ever had issues with their bosses. On a seperate note for a second, only in sports, and really only in sports where you see black people making F-350 super duty truck loads of money do you hear about common folks taking up for the ownership against the workforce. How cool would you be if your boss came in and told you that you’d have to work a position that’s going to put you in a lot more physical risk when you specifically said that as a condition of your hire that you wouldn’t do that.
I get that Albert never got it in writing, but when did it become okay for folks to lie to you and then get defended for it? So you have all these writers writing about how awful it is that Albert isn’t showing up to these crappy summer “Organized Team Activities.” The report is that this fat millionaire isn’t showing up to an off season activity he really has no need to show up to. Did I mention how much money he makes? No, I didn’t, because that is not relevant information in any way. Know who makes fifty times more than he does? Dan Snyder the guy who owns the team and is in no way being held to the standards that the media is holding Haynesworth to.
The biggest problem with the media that covers the NFL is that they are employees of the NFL. The sport is so big that they take the stories the league gives them. The league serves up certain players or stories to reporters so they get blowed up real good. You may not remember, but last year Jay Cutler did the same thing Haynesworth did, but to a slightly different effect. Yes, he was was criticized a bit, but not with the vigor or passion we see now. The only differences are that Albert makes more money and is a fat black guy as opposed to super smart Jay Cutler that went to Vanderbilt and is white.
There’s a casts system with NFL people as well. If you didn’t play or coach in the league don’t even try to talk to someone who did. They go hard on this “You don’t know you didn’t play, stuff.” So when you watch T.V. what you get are a bunch of people who’s lives were significantly changed by this system and are going to do what they can to tote company line. “Protect The Shield” is an actual thing with these guys. Ownership can’t do anything wrong on a serious level.
The next thing is stupid fans. With the sport being as popular as it is the number of casual fans that think they know anything about the sport is huge. The smaller the sport (in general) the more knowledgeable the fans are about it. Football fans actually don’t understand much of the sport, how it works, or how hard any of it is. They think they do, but they really don’t have a clue at all. What’s crazy is that the fans have also drunk the flavor-aid on the notion that if you didn’t coach in the league you can’t possibly tell them anything. Fans don’t have a clue what Jaws and Gruden are saying to each other during Monday Night Football games, but it sounds footbally so they’ll go for it. I can point out as well as they can that Jake DelHomme loves tossing balls way up in the sky and hoping his receivers catch it. What I don’t have is the years of football experience to say it in footbally terms.
What that does effectively is remove outside sources from the equation. If you come in to try and make a point about the league that just doesn’t make sense in reality they’ll be quick to get all over that “former general manager X said ‘this is just the way it goes’ so you can’t possibly be right.” The fans are also ridiculously arrogant, but the way I have to imagine baseball fans were back in the 60s and 70s. Easy to walk with that strut when your favorite sport is the most popular in the country and no one (seriously NO ONE) is even close to being in second.
One of the biggest reasons for that success is that the NFL has done just about everything in their power to CRUSH the personality of these players. No dancing, no celebrating, can’t say anything about anything (unless it helps the league that is). What? Yeah, all the players making less than Haynseworth sippin on Jellycycles can hate like crazy, but let one of them criticize how the NFL runs game and watch that player get ostracized.
This is a sport where you can’t see the players while they’re on the field. They’re all covered head to toe. Shoes, socks (that have to be a certain height or you get fined), pads all over the shirt and pants, and that helmet that covers the face. As long as you look on the field you can forget that it’s a bunch of young black kids out there dancing for your entertainment. The second they do anything to remind you of that the league fines them, and if it’s enough the commissioner calls them into the principles office. I’ve said it before, but one of the reasons I LOVE basketball is because of how human that sport it. No sport more human, soccer is like a more boring European cousin. They can’t hid anything. Their tattoos, their facial expressions (except my boy perk who just doesn’t have the ability to smile), nothing. The body language is all out there for everyone to see. In football they all look exactly the same from the nosebleeds. Just a bunch of nameless faceless logos out there running around.
I have totally lost my train of thought, so I’ll come correct with part two tomorrow when I get back on track. I hope. Maybe not though. This could be it. So if it is, in conclusion. I’m just not going to be watching a lot of football next season (college or pro) and I needed something write about. I’m going to try this whole write every day thing out and see how that works.