Sunday, July 26, 2015

The NFL, and Roger Goodell, is a bad joke

My brother-from-another-mother Neil has already made mention of it, so these latest embarrassments are only shocking to those not inured to the Sunday afternoon gladiator competition that invigorates so many Americans every fall.

Junior Seau's Hall of Fame enshrinement went from awkward and sad to really messy with the release of a New York Times story on Friday afternoon.

According to the Times, Seau's family will not be allowed to speak at his Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony. Only a video will be played for Seau, who committed suicide in 2012. The Pro Football Hall of Fame told the Times that's the policy for deceased inductees, that there will be no speech for someone on their behalf.

Seau -- pronounced SayOw, ironically enough -- shot himself in the chest and left a note saying he wanted his brain studied for possible signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy.  The NFL has previously acknowledged that many of the sport's participants over the decades have had their lives ruined by playing it, and agreed to pay a massive sum to the NFLPA (the players' union) in order to make reparations.

But with this blackout of the Seau family's desires to participate in their patriarch's induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the NFL is essentially playing the old "if we don't talk about it, it's not really happening" game.  That's the same one the NRA plays every time there's a mass shooting, and the same one many people play when it comes to the latest about Caitlyn Jenner.

Then there's the league's not-insignificant gambling problem.

This past week, reported that a search of public documents revealed examples of NFL lawyers making the claim in legal proceedings over the past 12 years that gambling on sports is a game of skill, not chance. That sounds like no small thing, a technical difference, but it's also a crucial one.

If sports gambling is legally determined to remain a game of chance, then it will remain illegal. But if it is found to be a game of skill, as NFL lawyers have claimed, then it has a path to being legalized. So why is the NFL, which ostensibly hates gambling and all its sordidness, making this claim?

"The NFL used to argue that gambling would screw up the integrity of the game,'' said Arnie Wexler, a compulsive gambling counselor who is a former compulsive gambler himself. "This whole country is turning into a gambling state and the NFL can just smell the money. It's all about the money.

"They just want a piece of the action. Where's the integrity? The hypocrisy has been going on for years; now they just have the balls to be more upfront about it.''

ShockedIsayshocked.  Meanwhile, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is also choking on Deflate-gate.

One month has passed since Tom Brady's appeal hearing in deflate-gate. One month and Roger Goodell still hasn't announced a decision.

Nothing. No upholding the suspension. No reversing the suspension. No lightening of the suspension. This isn't a Supreme Court case. This isn't complicated. It shouldn't take a month of leaving a player hung out to dry, as the biggest storyline going into the start of training camp remains an overblown, self-inflicted soap opera from last season.
One month and Goodell still can't figure out what to do, which somehow isn't really all that surprising since if he knew what to do in the first place the entire story would have been snuffed out in a day or so – or however long it took the NFL to figure out it has no idea, let alone any actual proof, that the footballs at the AFC title game were even all that deflated.

The Washington Post is reporting some owners are trying to figure out how the NFL commissioner can come out of this appearing "credible and looking like he's dealing from a position of strength." They might try encouraging him to just rule on the evidence rather than go with that pipe dream, but whatever.

Meanwhile, ProFootballTalk reports that a "small group of influential owners" are pushing Goodell to uphold the suspension, so it's nice to see some lobbying of the commissioner by rival teams who didn't participate in the disciplinary process.

It's not a coincidence that Brady and the NFL Players Association are left to do their own saber rattling in the media, claiming they'll sue everyone and everything if the New England Patriots quarterback isn't exonerated.

There are three rings to this circus.

Like so many other American boys and men, I have played football and eagerly watched it played at the high school, collegiate, and professional levels ever since I was knee-high to a high knee.  Loved almost every minute of it.

But that's going to have to stop now.  I cannot continue to enable the bad behavior of the worst socialists in the United States.  You may be thinking, "But Perry! YOU'RE a socialist yourself!  Why wouldn't you support your comrades?"

The answer, obviously, is that it's just the expenses of their publicly financed stadia, and many (not all) of their other costs of doing business, that are socialized.  Their profits are privatized.  Only when they are sued, and the plaintiffs win, do some of their profits get nationalized.

That's not the socialist model I subscribe to.  I may elaborate on my own views about this at a later time, but for now it's important that I wean myself away from these brutal, Hunger Games capitalists -- note that I include the players in this indictment; they have willingly traded their health for gobs of money -- and boycott the sport.

If I don't, then their scrambled brains, mangled legs, feet, arms, and hands are not just on Roger Goodell and the NFL's team owners, but also on me.  And I don't want that.

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