By Cameron Heffernan
The NFL seems to be putting up a smoke screen so you forget the real controversies that took place this year. Here’s a quick rundown of some things that are more “newsworthy” than this “Deflate-gate”.
Yet again, the New England Patriots are steeped in controversy. Accused of deflating footballs in Sunday’s AFC Championship game, the sports world has seemed to turn it’s attention to one of the bigger non-stories in a long-while. Many are calling for the “hammer to be brought down” and that this disgraces the NFL. So much so that it seems to have overshadowed the real controversies of the NFL year. Maybe it’s that its a slow news day, or maybe this does have some semblance of importance to the grand scheme of the NFL. Does it matter that they deflated footballs, in a supposed effort to give the ball more grip? No. What does matter are these 10 things we all seem to have forgotten about.
1. The Washington Redskins are still called the Washington Redskins. I feel like we all lost steam on this one. It’s an awful name and it needs to be changed. Immediately. That won’t happen though. The NFL is a bunch of spineless cowards who are afraid to take a moral stance over a monetary one.
2. Adrian Peterson was essentially afforded an extended vacation for brutally beating his son with a “switch.” He’ll definitely be playing, and will be beloved next year after a series of interviews where he proclaims he’s a new man. Which is wrong. He beat his son like it was the 1800’s and didn’t really show remorse for it. Yes, he said he was sorry, but more one of those apologies you get from a little kid that realizes what he did was wrong. Inside he knows he doesn’t care, and as soon as he’s done apologizing, with no real reprimand, he’s off to commit the same deed, just with less fanfare so he doesn’t get caught. Fortunately Peterson is suspended without pay. Although, there hasn’t been any update on his appeal or the fact he was told the “nine weeks he spent on the commissioner’s exempt list, will be time served,” from an anonymous source.
3. Ray Rice won a settlement for his remaining pay that was owed, after being suspended for one of the more brutal domestic violence acts caught on tape. He’ll probably play in the NFL next year and we’ll have to deal with a lot of “praise and reform” vignettes. Again, this is wrong. And again, there hadn’t been an article on Rice since November. The only reason a story came out was due to his appeal victory.
4. Greg Hardy of the Carolina Panthers was allowed to play after being charged with domestic violence. He played one game and then the league realized it had to backtrack. Much like Rice and Peterson, Hardy was placed on an extended vacation. As well as Hardy, Ray McDonald of the San Francisco 49ers was charged with domestic violence. He went on to play in 14 games this season.
The talking point of domestic violence in general has been reduced to a video package of various celebrities on the verge of crying for the NFL’s “No More” campaign. It raises some awareness, but is nothing more than a facade. An attempt to save face with the masses. Having people like Mariska Hargitay and Jemima Kirke are ploys to reel in the female demographic as well as appeal to a demographic of tools who fall for such pandering drub.
5. The NFL has given the complete “Benoit” treatment to the Jovan Belcher murder/suicide that occurred in 2012. A huge talking point on domestic violence and possibly mental illness and it’s effect on players. Since the tragedy, it’s never been mentioned and any talking points are rendered moot. As if nothing happened at all.
6. The Pro Bowl is still happening. Why? It’s unnecessary at this point. No good players want to play in it and players in the Super Bowl treat it like the plauge. It’s a cash-grab much like everything else in the NFL, a supposed $25-billion non-profit organization. Also another thing that hasn’t had anything written on it since early 2014, the NFL, it’s tax exempt status and where all the money goes. $6-billion was split amongst the teams this year. If the $25-billion estimate is correct, then where is the other $19-billion. This was something I couldn’t tell due to their being a lack of a way to find out.
7. The NFL is somehow, still, labeled as a “non-profit” organization. Tax exempt status applies. But, wait, the teams aren’t. Just the billion dollar corporate entity that is the NFL. See number six for more details, or lack thereof.
8. ROGER GODELL IS STILL COMMISSIONER! And that’s only because he’s a pushover and a stooge for the owners who are only out to protect a product. He suspended Ray Rice for four games for his deplorable actions. Only to retract that original punishment when he was called out like a dog who shit on the carpet. The same backtracking took place for Hardy of the Panthers and Peterson. He had his best investigator, former FBI director Robert Mueller, and friend find him unknowing about the Ray Rice elevator tape after a lengthy investigation. Something we all know he saw. But, hey, Godell’s bestie says he didn’t so I believe him, no matter how many inconsistencies there were in his testimony. I also believe in leprechauns, unicorns and time travel in the sense that I can get in a Tardis and fly away.
Speaking of protection….
9. Concussions and unnecessary violence are still prevalent in the NFL and will probably never change. But, hey, as long as you have something to get drunk to and root for on Sunday, right ? Who gives a shit about the players, they make millions, right ? Unfortunately, with non-guaranteed contracts sometimes their futures aren’t as set as you would think. Yet we still encourage hard hits and head hunting. Most of us even rooting for the opposing teams best player to get hurt. All so we can get drunk on a Sunday, neglect our families, girlfriends or even animals, and further encourage a barbaric ideal of yesteryear.
10. The refs and possible fixing. Purely speculation. But, this year, more than any year, has brought to light the favoritism and downright incompetence of NFL officals. The Bills vs. Broncos, Dallas vs. Detroit and a litany of others that featured a plethora of atrocious calls and downright robbery.
So there you have it, 10 other “stories” or “controversies” we should all be still talking about. Instead we care more about slightly deflated balls. Just keep those blinders on NFL fans. It’s what your masters want.