I avoided commenting on the NFL brouhaha until the early stages had passed. Now, because of an amusing link I’ll provide a few posts hence, I’ll offer my unsolicited opinion:
The current NFL shitstorm is proof that too many Americans embrace the concept of “all within the state, nothing outside the state”. Games should have nothing to do with politics. We MUST leave some parts of life politics free. It’s equal parts cruel and unwise to antagonize sports fans just to stroke the egos of yammering sycophants who take advice from Mussolini and don’t like the game anyway.
Football is just a game. For a few hours a week highly trained dancing monkeys drag a prolate spheroid across a playground while an opposing group of beefy meatwalls try to stop them. Fans get to watch, drink watery beer, and explain how they’d do better if they were on the field. They have fun and kindly leave non-sports fans (people like me) alone. It’s perfect!
None of it has squat to do with governance. Which is as it should be.
The only time I think negatively about football is when it drifts near politics. As soon as some jackass tells me it’s a pressing governmental need to tax my ass to fund a stadium I get testy. No! It’s fucking well NOT the government’s purview to provide a goddamn happy funtime playspace for your favorite team. You want a stadium? Pay for it. If ticket sales can’t fund a stadium then you’ll have to play outdoors like the other kids. End of story.
Conversely, if some NFL investor gets filthy stinking rich from ticket sales in a way that doesn’t affect my tax bill, I’m all for it. Also I like that a star quarterback out-earns fifty elementary school teachers. If Schoolfan McWimpypants wants the big bucks he can put down the Common Core drill manual, start lifting weights, and take his turn getting pummeled on the field.
Whenever it stays away from tax money, I have a positive view of the sport. I like the idea of behemoths in neon suits beating the hell out of each other. It’s not Thuderdome (which would be awesome!) but it’s a step in the right direction. Also, football rules are obscure and weird to a planet that usually plays soccer. Compared to soccer, American football is something Klingons would invent… while drunk. Most importantly, football fans mostly leave me alone. Thanks guys! I repay their kindness by leaving them alone. I don’t expect football to change and match my irrelevant desires (which is why they don’t allow chainsaws on the field).
Sadly, political hobbyists leave no stone unturned. They don’t like football because they neither play it nor watch it. They can’t stand things that don’t involve them. Like the suggestible killbots they are, they sought to trash it.
They’ve been bitching about names and mascots for as long as I remember. I don’t know if it’s working. I personally don’t care if the “fighting libtards” with their mascot (a horned Prius) play against the “raving rednecks” and their mascot (a can of Budweiser duct taped to a shotgun) in the Starbucks Bowl at Walmart field so I easily ignore it. 2014 saw a new front that wormed its way into my truck via America’s Pravda. NPR, an organization that is allergic to both fun and testosterone but has a massive repeater network, went on a multi week exploratory journey of their own navel in the name of “stopping sports concussions in football”. I call bullshit. Nobody in NPR gives a flying fuck about the physical health of any player. Have you ever heard NPR hint they care about a millionaire Neanderthal who can bench press Terry Gross while taking a direct hit from a runaway truck? I haven’t. NPR only cares about football players as a gambit for controlling football itself. They’re just busybodies who would shut down any group that doesn’t involve them.
As for myself, I don’t care if a football player gets a concussion any more than a football player cares if I hit a moose with my motorcycle. We all make choices in personal risk (or, in the case of NPR staff, the complete lack thereof). Anyone older than six knows running your skull into solid objects (like a linebacker or a moose) entails risk and a helmet is not a magic shield. You pays your money and you takes your chances.
2014 seemed to be when the great random wheel of “who shall we fuck with today” pointed to the NFL. They spin that wheel every few weeks lately. Signifying ever shorter attention spans. Remember what the whiners were upset about before they suddenly cared about the cranium of quarterbacks? Take a guess. Give up? They were bitching about the fashion choices of astrophysicists. What a super relevant way to interface with braniacs who run space probes. I know I go to astrophysicists whenever I’m picking out clothes. Don’t you? A few months later they’d forget the concussion thing and start suing Oregon bakers about wedding cakes. Someone should put out a calendar. Political nitwits pick victims so quickly and randomly that it’s a reverse shitstorm lottery.
The seed was planted though. “Sports safety” thing started to erode the game by reducing the number of youths entering the sport. Being a non sport person that doesn’t bother me. Given time, the assault may have borne fruit. Football might slowly become a shadow of its former self; like boxing. I’m not sure what the NFL could do to change their fate. Everything from light bulbs to Boy Scouts have fallen to the reaper.
The NFL quietly soldiered on; which is less interesting than my solution. I’d like to see fans explain their differing world views by stampeding the Raider’s offensive line up through NPR studios. (I’m imagining something like the running of the bulls.) Duck tape a football to Steve Inskeep or Melissa Block and give them a ten yard head start. Who wouldn’t like to see the talking heads who bitched about a sport they don’t play running like hamsters in front of a bunch of Gatorade fueled human bulldozers? Hellooooo pay per view! I’d pay good money to see it!)
The wheel of “who shall we fuck with” came around again last year when a pussywhipped yoyo decided to “send a message” from within the NFL. To be honest, it worked… for him. I know the name Kaepernick when I shouldn’t. I don’t know any other names. I know Kaepernick only because he got political and the press rolled in it. But he got that notoriety at what cost? He sold out his profession so he could get name recognition with people like me? I don’t give a fuck about his little game so why would he want my recognition? The right path to seek fame in football is by being awesome at football.
Predictably, the contagion spread. The other dancing monkeys started “sending messages”. They stand up, kneel, lock arms, and hop on one foot to protest… Actually nobody can precisely define what they’re protesting. Presumably something about how America is less than the perfect Utopia in each person’s imagination? ESPN was apparently infiltrated too as it donned the hairshirt some cat lady knitted for them until (as predictably as night follows day) their ratings tanked. Owners inexplicably forgot why you posses for profit enterprises. Thus they’re earning less profit.
All for what? So balless dweebs who don’t even like the game got to signal their “awareness” by joining a “debate”? To what end? By entertaining ideas extraneous to their core purpose, the NFL has sown the wind.
Astoundingly, one of the sane ones was Cheeto Jesus. Lord help me, it’s true! When everyone was hemming and hawing about “freedom of speech while on the boss’ clock” he said “if they don’t play by the rules, fire their sorry asses…duh!” Like many Americans, I was nodding in agreement.
It seems straightforward to me. If I hire a guy to shingle the roof I want the fucking roof shingled and nothing more. If the shingle guy gets on my roof and starts a bible study or a Marxist poetry slam I’ll fire his ass toot sweet. I’ll look up there and say, “Hey, is that a hammer in your hand?” They’ll say “No, it’s a bible/The Communist Manifesto, I’m expressing myself.” And I’ll say “Congratulations on fully realizing your true nature. You’re fired. Get the hell off my roof. Realize your inner truths somewhere else. If I see you again on my property I’ll feed you to my dog. Have a nice day.” That’s how life works.
Players have the same first amendment rights we all do. Like the rest of us, they can use them every millisecond of their life provided they’re not on some dude’s clock. Or they can quit their job and spent 24/7 not standing, or chanting, or whatever floats their boat… while forgoing the salary they didn’t choose. Everyone has at one time or another had to shut his yap and do his job. It’s what separates adults from children.
Trump, lunatic that he may be, understands the whole “do your job and shut the fuck up until closing time” world of normalcy. It’s not rocket science. If the players are turning their workspace into “celebrity virtue signaling anti-patriot demonstration time” it’s a sound managerial decision to fire their asses. Replace them with a new crop of farm equipment that will do the job without so much fucking drama.
Does anyone realize what those assholes on their knees did? They made Donald Trump into the voice of common sense! The mind boggles.
How bad are your ideas if the adult in the room is Trump? Only a football player thinks their non-sports related opinions matter. They don’t. When they’re on the field they aren’t paid to have an opinion. When they’re off the field they don’t have a track record of civic virtue and wise life choices. The NFL was so clueless that a gold plated asshole became the speaker of common sense! Bad call.
But that’s enough of today’s rant. Like I’ve said, I’m not a fan so I don’t matter. The fans do matter and they’ve made their opinions very clear. Players, the NFL management, ESPN, and any other person who wants to make a living at what was originally a kid’s game, should be terrified of how badly they misjudged things.