This is the first season I haven’t watched a professional baseball or professional football game on television since the 1960’s. I’m not keeping up with the college games like I once did either. I’m more or less turning away from televised sports simply because of the influence televised sports seems to have on the people playing the game.
Before you write me off as some intellectual type who watched a couple of games a year, let me assure you, I can tell you more about professorial football than most people employed to announce the games. Did you know on the Atlanta Falcon’s first home game they muffed the kick-off? The kicked missed the ball, Charlie Brown style and the Falcons first play resulted in a penalty.
I am older than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who lost every game in their first season, with Steve Spurrier as their quarterback and John McKay as their coach. When asked about his team’s execution during the game McKay said, “I’m all for it.”
The Immaculate Reception. The Drive. The Ice Bowl. The Fog Bowl. Joe Thiemann’s leg. Montana to Clark. The Steel Curtain. The Monsters of The Midway. The Purple People Eaters. The Dog Pound. Miami versus San Diego in one of the best games ever. Dallas and Pittsburgh in the best Super Bowl ever.
Don’t question the fact I am a fan of the game. I don’t want to hear it. What I am not a fan of is some of the players, and the fact there are more than enough people still supporting the industry to give these guys the idea they can get away with anything they want to do, because the fans will keep coming back for more.
The Michael Vick thing really bothered me. I was a Vick fan. I liked the way he played, but it soon became clear he was, and is, a one trick pony. Worse, he is a poor excuse for a human being. Yet there he is, still making millions of dollars a year, and people flock to see him. I see the people who engage in dog fighting to be somewhere between child molesters and that stuff that builds up on the bathroom floor at a truck stop men’s room when it hasn’t been mopped in a year.
Ben Roethlisberger was another one of the untouchables who may or may not have raped a woman in a bathroom in Georgia. We will never know the truth because the local police stepped in and escorted Roethlisberger to the airport so before the press got a hold of the story Roethlisberger was already in conference with a team of lawyers. No evidence was taken, the woman was called a “drunk slut” by one of the cops on the scene and he went on to say, “We’ve got to get Ben out of here”. He posed for a photo op with Roethlisberger after the alleged crime.
Now Brett Farve, who owns every major record a quarterback could possibly own, and has been playing longer than most College freshmen have been alive, stand accused to sending nude photos of himself, well, parts of himself, to women who like the many mistresses of Tiger Woods, seem to think they can get someone to pay them to show, or pay them not to show. Have you ever wondered why suddenly to never hear about all the women who were claiming to have slept with Woods? The sports industry has a very vested interest in making bad press go away, and making sure the images of their stars, even when tarnished, can keep shining.
At some point, as a fan of the sport, you have to walk away, in the name of simple ethics. In the name of plain morality, you have to step away from the den of inequity televised professional sports have become. It’s all about commercials and selling sports drinks, pushing beer ads with half naked women, and it’s all fun and games until some woman gets raped.
By tacit permission, we approve of the actions of the players who misbehave when we continue to support the teams, the players, and the industry, that is rift with drug use, violence, and more criminal activity than you can find in most prisons. What are we teaching our kids? If you can throw a football you deserve to be rich and you get a free pass to rape as you please and the cops will save your butt, and the lawyers will save you from prison? They suspected the man for four games, one quarter of the season, after he was accused of rape. No charges were files, no witness were interviewed, and the whole thing was swept under a rug already collecting the dirt from every rich young man who considers himself well above the law, and the rest of us.
What difference will it make that I no longer watch the NFL? I suspect it will not make a difference at all. No one cares if I do, or do not, except, of course, for myself, who I have to live with every day. And you have to live with who you are, and if you can support Mike Vick, Roethlisberger, and the gang of thugs that the NFL produces, then that’s your problem, not mine. I can’t and I won’t.
As a society, there has to be some sort of line drawn, there has to be some behavior that is unacceptable, and there cannot be some upper class of people who are beyond that line, and are not answerable to the law when they cross that line. It’s bad enough that such people do exist, but the idea these people are grown men playing a child’s game that supports a multibillion dollar industry is obscene in ways that I cannot even begin to count.
The NFL owes me. It owes me a industry where women are safe from the workers of their industry, and they owe us all a better society for the money we pour into their pockets. What we’ve gotten back from them is Mike Vick and Roethlisberger, and Farve.
NFL= Not Firesmith’s League.