To date I haven’t said much about the pro football matter. The reason is that I am hopelessly addicted to the Green Bay Packers; have been since 1968. I’m sorry, there just isn’t anything I can do about it – I’m weak.
Unfortunately, the Packers play in the National Football League. NFL for short. Also, short for “No Fans Left.” The League is doing everything humanly possible to drive guys like me away and I wonder if they haven’t gone so far, they won’t find their way back. This year I watch the Packer game only. No pre-game hype with Bradshaw and the boys, no post-game replay, and no other games.
For years, the NFL has skirted around, somewhat successfully, with the fact that many of its players are no more than thugs, thieves, rapists, drug abusers, and in a few instances, murderers. Incredibly, this was not enough to influence the general public away from them. Oh, there were ramblings about it, a few were kicked out of the league and/or went to prison, but in general the public hung in there with the NFL.
But the real downfall seems to have begun with the concussion matter, which has only superficially been addressed. Research has been performed and some money was thrown at the veteran players, albeit, of course, not enough. (Is it ever enough? Do you think those veterans would have stopped playing even if they had known?) Yes, the NFL has a concussion protocol, but there are examples of it being circumvented. As a former pee-wee coach myself, knowing what I know now, my son wouldn’t have played then.
Greed through over-saturation has been another shot in the foot of the League. Not content with games on Sunday afternoon and one Monday night, they had to put more games on TV. Now, despite the protestations of safety by players and coaches, we have Thursday night, all day Sunday, and both Sunday and Monday nights. I just want to watch the Packers, regardless of what day or time. About greed, I bought the NFL ticket the first year it was available so we could watch Packer games. We paid $79 for it the first year. We paid $279 this year.
I stopped going to games years ago. It’s not a quality atmosphere to take kids. I’m certainly no teetotaler but have never understood the fascination of going to a public event to see how much beer one can consume, thus becoming obnoxious and crude to all others within earshot. I also have no desire during the course of a game to see how many times I can disrupt the people sitting around me so that I can make my way to go stand in line for the bathroom either.
In the name of “safety,” penalty calls started raining down every other play, thus slowing down the game and getting the referees mugs on television every few minutes. We now know certain referees by name on sight. It has gotten so bad there is no reason to have kicking or punting plays anymore because of the obligatory penalty call.
The greatest running back I ever saw play was Walter Payton. No matter how hard he got knocked down, he got up first and helped his tackler up. When Walter scored a touchdown, he got up off the ground and ran over to the referee to hand him the ball. He just exuded class. Now, when some overpaid schmuck manages to score a touchdown, he has to go into a charade of choreographed childish antics and dances, as if it were the first and only time he will ever get there. It’s obscene and immature. And to head off all the Liberal retorts that it is that players right, well it's my right to not go or not watch too because I don’t like it…which is the basis for this commentary. You see, us Conservatives have rights too.
With all of this working against them, the “kneeling thing” commenced by Colin Kaepernick, a middling quarterback with the 49’ers, who has made more than $30 million in his NFL career. His “beef” was his perception of how people of color are treated by the police. So, he decided the best way to protest the police matter was to kneel, on our time and dime, during the National Anthem for our country. This was a spit in the eye to every veteran, past and present, as well as the flag and everything it stands for. It had nothing to do with the police. This total lack of patriotism upset a whole bunch of folks, me included.
To the NFL players amazement, Colin kneeled himself right out of a job. And in this age of mob mentality and “Me too” politics, most of the players “concluded” they would back Kaepernick, regardless of the fact that many had no idea what they were protesting. And liberals, always searching for a place to stick their thumb in the eye of “the Man” joined in. Some Dolphins players took a knee in London, embarrassing our nation. Marshawn Lynch stood for the Mexican national anthem in Mexico City but sat for the American anthem, thus embarrassing himself. He only makes $4.5 million per year in this rotten country. Michael Bennett, who lied about the Las Vegas police, making $15.7 million per year, likened his condition in the NFL to that of a slave because a team owner demanded his players not kneel on his clock. Hey Michael, get a clue!
The spineless NFL brass, led by Roger Goodell, mistakenly believed the great unwashed, that would be us, would overlook this too and come crawling back to shower them all with more of our money. Goodell, by the way, wants $40 million per year and a four-year contract to continue. (He dropped his demand of a private jet for life.) So, he sat on his duff and did nothing, fearing player backlash. Now he is talking about taking money earmarked for other causes, such as breast cancer, to give to whatever hair-brained charities the players want. Want to bet ticket prices will go up to support all this buffoonery? Now would be a good time to tell you the NFL pays no Federal tax on its $10 billion per year earnings.
The result of all this is that attendance is down by about one million fans and the NFL has lost over $500 million in ad revenue. One has to wonder if, while this collection of rocket scientists is kneeling and looking at all those empty seats if they realize they are killing their own game? Talk about cutting your nose off the spite your face!
But I sense something else – a mentality of athletes that have come to some sort of realization they are now better than us. Because of the money they are paid and the amount of people that shower them with praise, they seem to have lost touch with reality. It has gotten so bad that I watched an incredible replay from Sunday in which a referee threw a penalty flag against the Kansas City Chiefs. Marcus Peters, a player for the Chiefs who has been kneeling or hiding out in the runway all year during the anthem, picked up the flag and threw it in the stands. In 49 years of watching football, I had never saw this act of contempt for the game. Then, Mr. Peters promptly walked off the field smiling and into the locker room…while the game was still going on. Evidently, at some point someone on the Chiefs must have told him that the game was not over and he needed to get back on the field. He came out in his cleats and a smile, without any socks or tape on his legs, essentially out of uniform. He gets $2.4 million to walk out on his team. The point I got – nobody was going to tell him what to do.
As one NFL owner said, the inmates are running the prison. Don’t know about you but I’m not paying to visit prison inmates. Well, maybe if they wear green and gold.