Pretty self-explanatory list, really. This is my petulant, free-flowing, self-censored reaction to this unfortunate news.
- Greedy owners. A particularly greedy one has an estimated net worth somewhere north of $7 billion, but that’s not quite enough. Also, part of the reason why the NFL simply didn’t expand to Los Angeles by creating two expansion franchises–if you divide more than $10 billion by 32 (owners), that’s more moneys than if it’s divided by 34.
- Publicly-funded stadiums. Don’t give me the crap about good for morale in the metro area (especially when a certain team has been irrelevant for over a decade now); taxpayers end up footing the bill for multi-millionaire and -billionaire owners (not to mention the tax breaks and subsidies they receive down the road) when budget crises in their own states suggest the millions of dollars being diverted could be used elsewhere–education, infrastructure, etc. Oh, and despite what the official numbers tell you, watch a regular season game (or, don’t, since you’re boycotting it!) and tell me there aren’t plenty of empty seats.
- Concussions and CTE. So many reputable sources to link to, so little time… Basically, the NFL has attempted to gloss over the serious head trauma experienced by players, and even sought to get out of helping former players, on whom the league made their billions, with their medical bills. And the repeated bashing of skulls into legs, torsos, and other skulls isn’t good for skulls and their contents.
- The commissioner. The guy hasn’t seemed to get anything right the past few years… the lockout, the Ray Rice suspension fiasco (first too lenient, then too harsh), bungling the Deflategate punishments… Of course, one of his first controversies he had to clean up the whole Spygate mess. And clean it up, he did. Also, his wife used to work for FOX News.
- Various other discrepancies between punishment and non-punishment of players. Ray Lewis (murder, no suspension). Ben Roethlisberger (rape, six game suspension reduced to four for good behavior). Josh Gordon (pot, suspended one year without pay).
- Redskins. Seriously… What. The. F***?! (now, with added historical irony!)
- Player conduct. Another issue with far too many potential links. Domestic violence, animal abuse, drugs, etc., etc., etc.
- PEDs. Are we just going to believe, like we all did ca. 1998, that players now are bigger and stronger than ever before solely because of advanced training techniques? Remember in 2006 when Shawne Merriman was suspended four games for testing positive for steroids, but still finished third in the Associated Press’ Defensive Player of the Year vote? Maybe baseball writers have gone a little overboard in collectively excluding PED users from the Hall of Fame, but that near-win for Merriman seemed absurd to me at the time.
- Ignoring their own rules and guidelines. I recall some legislators in Missouri threatening legal action over that document’s content and the stadium-related decisions made on behalf of keeping a team in St. Louis. We’ll see if they follow through.
- Machismo. The show-boating, taunting, excessive celebrating, destruction-minded hitting when a defensive back tries to knock out a receiver instead of tackling him to the ground… it’s all a bit much, no? Especially considering the amount of protective gear most players wear…
- Ignoring their own rules, pt. 2: See “various other discrepancies between punishment…” and “The commissioner.”
- Tax-exempt status. So they voluntarily gave it up over a year ago because they figured the relatively small amount of money they (technically, the league offices, and not the whole league and all its teams) were saving wasn’t worth the PR headache caused by the misrepresentation of said tax exemption. But still…
- Their main causes. Breast cancer awareness. Military appreciation. All just another means of playing on the sympathies of fans (and/or trying to reach out to women) just to make money. But when Cam Heyward wrote a little message on his eye black in memory of his father, well… that’s too far! Same for two other Steelers.
- Socialism. Greedy captains of industry notwithstanding, it’s odd that they readily embrace a system in which revenue is shared, the worst teams one year get the first crack at the top rookies the next, and the amount of money that can be spent is restricted. That’s about as un-American as it gets.
I’m going to do my best to avoid the NFL at all costs–even changing the radio and TV stations (once the vitriolic anti-Kroenke rants die down) when pro football comes up. If you must support a team, here’s some choices:
- Whoever’s playing the Rams
- Green Bay Packers–a community-owned franchise that isn’t quite as hell-bent on making some extra cash.
Any other suggestions, either for reasons to boycott, or teams to support? Comment away!