Thursday, September 18, 2014

It's Criminal! The NFL and Me

Oh look. He's lying again...
It has not been a good couple of weeks for pro football. Football players have always been prone to violence - the combination of a lifetime of rewards for viciousness and brutality and the protection from consequences afforded to star athletes from the earliest part of their careers has seemingly made them significantly more likely to resort to violence than the rest of the population.  And that factor has reared it's head repeatedly recently, with horrific scenes of domestic violence and tales of brutal corporal punishment.

So this has all resulted in a couple of different conversations taking place simultaneously. The first is how the NFL and the teams should react to these cases, how they should formulate policy and how that policy should be carried out. The second is a more intimate question of how we, as consumers, should respond to these events.

The first question is hard at one level. It's an argument about at what point in the legal process should a player be considered for punishment. And that bumps up against a whole lot of questions about due process, employee rights, politics and optics. And oddly, the initial question seems to start and stop at whether the team should allow the player to play in the games. Personally, I'm not sure how a paid vacation that essentially punishes the team for the (alleged) actions of the player constitutes a punishment, but we'll accept the general consensus that it does. So as far as I'm concerned, if a player is charged and arraigned on felony charges that include any kind of violence, the teams should at a minimum suspend him without pay, and should have the option, depending on the egregiousness of the crime in question, to void his contract. Note that is after charges have been filed and the player has had a chance to enter a plea. An arrest can lead to a lot of different outcomes, but it very often leads to no charges being filed, and is therefore simply too early in the process to take punitive action.

The second question to me is an easier one. I like to watch football. Most of the players are not bad people. So if the question is whether I should give up doing something I enjoy in order to take some kind of consumer action against a league that's going to continue to play games whether I watch them or not, the answer is that would be pointless and ludicrous.

So no. I don't feel guilty, and I don't think I can influence the arc of commerce. But even beyond those, I don't understand why I should be punished for the excesses of a few criminals. I WANT to watch the games, and unless somebody can explain to me how NOT watching those games would make the world a better place, I think I'll just stay the somewhat rocky course.


  1. I'm rooting for the Redskins, as I have since I was a little kid and "Sonny vs. Billy" was a thing.

    * Family was all in for Sonny.

  2. Less'n you're a Nielsen family it doesn't make a dime's bit o' difference if you watch or not.

    I don't even consume anything advertised during games (Beside maybe crummy processed food products, & what am I supposed to do, starve?); there's nothing I'm not already boycotting.

    Thunder's just asking to get his scalp lifted, isn't he?