If you haven’t seen the stunt pulled by Richard Sherman and Doug Baldwin during a press conference yesterday, go ahead and watch it now.
Funny stuff, and like most comedy, it’s funny because there is a portion of truth in it.
The NFL is absolutely all about making money, from sponsors, from ticket and merchandising sales, from media rights, etc. and ANYTHING that gets in the way of making that money is going to get the hammer dropped on it, quickly. The owners and the league office will, occasionally, come out and say some thing for their own public image, but all of that is just window dressing to making money. Most of it is hypocritical too. Player safety is, supposedly, a big concern, and then they just keep throwing these Thursday night games at the players and making them play what is an extremely violent and physically demanding game twice in 5 days.
Or worse, for the Cowboys and Bears, thanks to back-to-back Thursday games, they get to play 3 in 12 days. Sure, that’s got to be perfectly safe.
Also, the NFL is loathe for any of it’s players to drink in public, or be intoxicated in any way, yet it’s biggest sponsor sells alcohol. Money talks….
If you read the comments on the video and other blogs, there’s a common refrain that I think is the crux of the problem. Simply put, we don’t care as long as we get our football! We want the players to shut the eff up and feel lucky that they get paid millions of dollars to play a game. While there’s a morsel of truth in that as well, we also have to remember the flip side of that argument. They play a game that has proven, time and again, to create long term health issues and early deaths among it’s former players. You might view them as the “lucky” ones because they get to play football, but I can guarantee you that if your job had the death rate that former professional football players had, there would be a government agency setting all sorts of rules about how to make it safer. There wouldn’t be all this talk about how you should “just go do something else if you don’t like it”. We have labor laws for a reason, to protect workers from abusive management. Your boss doesn’t get to require you to work 20 hour days, 7 days a week without compensation, in an unhealthy, unsafe environment because it’s dangerous and there are ways in which it can be made safer, and management is required to take those steps. If playing an NFL game twice in five days is proven to be dangerous, why shouldn’t the players be protected the same way you or I are? Why shouldn’t they have the right to speak out against what they consider to be a dangerous practice?
Because in the end, they aren’t real people to us, and we want our damn football, all the time. If a handful of over-sized, steroid using, painkiller addicted, jocks have to die every year, so be it. They were done playing anyway so we ceased to even care about them any more.