Saturday, September 13, 2014

Boycott the NFL

It has been two weeks since I wrote my mea culpa about being a football fan.   I detailed all of my qualms with the National Football League, but essentially said that I would watch its games anyway because I am a lifelong “addict.”   Well, that attitude won’t cut it anymore.  People of conscience are, in my view, obliged to boycott the National Football League, no matter how much we love it.   I’m not calling for a lifelong boycott, but at least a temporary one.  We have that league on the defensive, and it is imperative that we send a message: if the owners don’t clean up their act, they will feel the consequences in the only place they care about, the wallet.

Mind you – I’m enough of a football fanatic to be willing to make an exception for Seahawks and Broncos fans.  Their teams are so stacked with talent, that it would be a cruel and unusual punishment to deny their fans the pleasure of watching them put a whoopin’ on the other teams.  But those are the only exceptions.

Since I wrote my mea culpa, a video was publicly released showing the Ravens’ top running back connecting with a knockout punch against a very thin woman, and then dragging her out of the elevator like a rag doll.  Then, we all learned that this video had been released to the league office’s months ago, but as we all know, the running back received only a two-game suspension.   (We call that a vacation in my line of work.)

The NFL is a violent sport.   When the players leave the field, they clearly have a lot of pent up aggression in them and suffer from physical wounds of their own.   It is hardly surprising that they’d take out their aggression on other people (women and children, included) and resort to such pain killers as mass quantities of alcohol.  The result is a ton of domestic violence and DUI citations.    
In my last post on the subject, I spoke a lot about the dangers that the game brings to those who play it.  But in this post, I’m concentrating on the game’s dangers to innocent third-parties.  Either way, something has got to change.  Football is inherently violent, and we’re stuck with that.  Yet the NFL can at least take a zero-tolerance policy regarding reckless conduct perpetrated against third parties.  And since it has demonstrated no interest in doing so without outside pressure, what do you say we boycott the sport for a while and make the owners feel some heat?

Don’t go to games.   Don’t buy their merchandise.  Don’t watch the NFL channel.  Don’t watch the games on TV.  Don’t watch the pre-games or post-game coverage if it is exclusively NFL related.  Don’t support anything that is a major revenue producer for the league.  If you want to stay up on the action (as I do), read about it over the internet or watch recaps of the games on stations that aren’t paying megabucks to the NFL.  Make the owners feel that they have no choice but to put an end to the off-the-field reckless conduct associated with their players. 

The events of yesterday demonstrate the value of protesting against NFL player-induced violence.  The NFL’s best running back was indicted for the crime of negligent or reckless injury to a child.  Adrian Peterson, the best player on my beloved Minnesota Vikings, admitted to beating one of his children with a switch (that’s a flexible tree branch).  Peterson allegedly gave his son ten cuts on his thighs, bruises on his lower back, tush and scrotum, and cuts on his hand.  Some of these were said to be open wounds.  According to one of Peterson’s alleged text messages to the boy’s mother, “He got about five more pops than normal.  He didn’t drop one tear!  So that was another indicator I’ll have to try a system with him.”   Apparently, this was one tough four year old.  Yes, that wasn’t a typo.  Peterson beat up his four year old child.

This time last year, there is no question whatsoever that Adrian Peterson would be running the ball for the Vikings in their game against the Patriots.  But thanks to all the protests, the Vikings have deactivated Peterson for the game.   Gradually, and I do mean gradually (because other teams aren't being nearly as responsive as the Vikings), the league is beginning to listen to its protesters.

What do you say we keep the heat on for a while longer?  Please join me in this boycott and take a stand for public safety.    

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