The Royal Heffernans

Quite possibly the best family ever

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Very Special Blog Post

I'm going to take some time off from the NFL. It isn't just because of everything recently with Ray Rice, although that was the straw that broke the proverbial back, it's because the NFL is out of control. And, repeat after me - IT'S JUST A FUCKING GAME!

We can start with Ray Rice knocking his fiancee out cold. If you've seen the video, it's difficult for me to judge which is the worst part - the fact that he appears to strike with zero hesitation, the visceral, raw violence of the act, or the staggering lack of concern from Rice as Janay Palmer's head strikes the elevator railing and she lays unconscious on the ground. Disgust can be evenly distributed, starting with Rice, moving to the prosecutors who viewed this video and decided not to press charges, to the NFL and the Baltimore Ravens who took almost no action until it was clear that their attempt to blame Parker had blown up in their faces. Nevermind who saw which video and when, what do you think someone getting knocked unconscious entails? It's horrifying, no matter who is perpetrating it upon whom.

The whole concussions ordeal plays a part.

The Jonathan Martin bullying, racism, and organizational support for such actions plays a part.

But I guess it's really just my overall perception of the NFL today - it's out of control. This isn't about setting a good example for my kids (won't somebody think of the children?!). If I'm relying on the NFL to teach my kids about how to treat women and bullying and racism, I'm a failure as a parent. No, this is because IT'S JUST A FUCKING GAME! And we have adults across the country that are simply way too invested in this. John Walters said something really great today commenting on another media personality's comment about how (paraphrasing) she was struggling to reconcile her values and beliefs with her love for football. His response - you don't! Why do people feel the need to reconcile their values and beliefs with a freaking game?! I mean, I love soccer, but I'm probably going to pull my boy off his soccer team if their team name is the Little Hitlers and they're asked to wear adorable little mustaches.

America is way too addicted to the NFL, and there seems to be a notion that there is nothing we can do about it. But there are things we can do - turn off the tv, don't buy tickets, don't buy merchandise. The only thing the NFL listens to is money.

I love football. I love watching football. And I hope that the NFL can get their shit together enough so that I can watch and enjoy the games again without feeling like a horrible person or a spectator at the Coliseum in Rome. It's fall, the weather is nice, kids have soccer. I'm sure I can find something better to do than spend Sunday afternoon (and Monday night, and now Thursday night too because,  NFL) on the couch - unless of course, you know, Little Hitlers. Although the mustaches would remind me of a virile, young Ian Rush


Teddy said...

I get what you're saying. But all the things you mention don't affect how I view or enjoy the NFL. However, I realize I am in the minority here.

I can watch an NFL game, root for my team (or fantasy players) and enjoy it without regards to the rap sheet of the players on the field. It IS just a game, and that's how I treat it. If my team loses, I get pissed. Then 5 minutes later I have forgotten about it as I do million other things on the weekend.

It's the same with Tiger Woods. Many people (my wife included) hate his guts, not just for cheating on his wife in the most heinous way possible. He also lied and pretended to be something he is not. Me, I don't care. I don't watch Tiger because i love him or admire him. I watch him to see amazing golf, and maybe witness his coronation as the greatest golfer ever.

Maybe it's my training and career. Dozens of times every day I separate my emotions from my job as a doctor. Maybe it's my personality. I'm selfish and in general could give a shit about other people other than family and close friends (I'll go to war for them). Maybe I'm just a cold-hearted son-of-a-bitch.

Either way, I'll watch the NFL like I always have. Try to catch a quarter or two of the Bengals (or Saints if they're on). Watch an occasional Sunday/Monday/Thursday night game if it's a great matchup, and tune in for the playoffs.

Teddy said...

By the way, Notre Dame is different. I grew up loving them, went there, as did most of my family, and live and die with the football team every year.

That's the Notre Dame family. I think that's why college football engenders a degree of fanaticism that escapes the NFL. Personal connection to one's alma mater.

I struggle to disconnect emotion from anything Notre Dame. In that regard, I can understand why some NFL fans are having a tough time with this.

Teddy said...

Oh Ian, if you want to protest fantasy football too, let's talk AJ Green!!!

ian said...

I wouldn't characterize myself as emotionally connected to the NFL either. Pro sports are purely entertainment. But the NFL is a corporate juggernaut that is tossing basic human decency to the wayside for dollars and I won't support them. I've got better things to do with my time and money. Just like I'd probably stop eating Soylent Green if I found out it was made out of people (thank god that isn't the case). Is it delicious? Yes. But, you know, it's people! Will I miss it not having the games on in the background all Sunday? Sure, it'll probably be pretty tough, but it's one small way for me to show my disapproval until they get their shit together.

By continuing to support the NFL through viewership or actual financial transactions you're not condoning their behavior, but you are certainly enabling them to rationalize making these kinds of decisions in the future because, hey, the fans don't care - ratings are still high and we're still selling out stadiums! It allows them to continue to act like monsters using people as currency, and that's bullshit.