Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Doug Reveiws the NFL

I don’t know anything about Jovan Belcher except that he is now, the Tuesday after he murdered his girlfriend, committed suicide, and orphaned his baby girl, old news.  Go to ESPN.com and you might find it difficult to even locate his name. He is just another broken football player whose life ended in tragic and confusing violence, and we got a new news cycle to focus on.

Oh, by the way, Belcher didn’t start a few weeks ago because of a head injury he had suffered in the previous game against the Bengals. He was experiencing short term memory loss, coupled with head and neck pain (But I’m certain none of this had anything to do with his shocking murder/suicide).

He got back into the lineup the following weekend though, because let’s face it: in the NFL, you snooze, you lose. Right, Alex Smith?

NFL players will do whatever it takes to keep their position in the lineup. One nagging injury and a guy is right there, eager to take your spot (and your paycheck). One bad injury and you are a step closer to opening a failed restaurant in Galveston. One more persistent injury and you are out of the league and broke. So don’t tell anyone about your fuzzy vision, ok?

Oh, did you think the league would provide you with workman’s comp insurance? Hahahaha. Yeah right, injuries are a part of the game. Guys getting injured and facing a lifetime of minimum wage are just collateral damage. You have to crack a few eggs if you want some of the billion dollar NFL Omelet…ouch, poor use of the word “crack” right there. We wouldn’t want to call attention to all the cracked skulls, brains, spines and knees, would we?

Before we jump on the dumb-jocks-that-made-their-choice bandwagon, let’s try to remember that these “dumb jocks” all spent more time and energy preparing for their job than any of us did to get our jobs.

The NFL may not be worse than ancient Roman gladiator games, but then again, it might be. I mean, sure, the participants aren’t prisoners and slaves…

…but they are predominantly black men;  bought, sold and traded from team to team, risking their health (and even their lives) in order for their white owners (yes, NFL teams have owners) to increase their billion dollar empire. And once their strength is gone and we find no use for them? Owners simply discard them to make way for the new young batch of “participants.”

I love football and I want to continue watching it. But the NFL has got to get more serious about protecting the players. If that means less viciousness in the hits defensive players lay on the offense, I will have to accept that. As it stands, the NFL business plan is doomed. You can’t have a business that murders, maims and destroys its own product.

The league has bloody hands. Unfortunately, so do you and I. We are all a little bit responsible for promoting, purchasing and praising an organization that vindicates violence. The lives of Junior Seau, Steve McNair, Jovan Belcher, and the thousands of other impacted players have to be more valuable to us than the momentary pause for silence no doubt held at Arrowhead stadium two days ago.

In order to have any effect at all, these ever increasing moments of silence must to be followed by something more than the Star Spangled Banner and business as usual. Come on, NFL. Do the right thing.

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