Forget, for the moment, about concussions, slurs against Native Americans, corporate greed, non-guaranteed contracts, and all the other ways the NFL has tried to make itself persona non grata among right-thinking people. Here’s one more reason – reason enough on its own to justify quitting watching football cold turkey:
It’s been well-established that NFL leadership doesn’t give a shit about women, but with newly-released footage of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee in the face prior to being gently wrist-slapped with a two-game suspension, one has to wonder: do NFL fans give a shit about women?
To be clear, this is footage that the NFL either saw, or lied about seeing, prior to announcing Ray Rice’s joke of a punishment. This is repugnant, outrageous behavior, and it’s no longer enough for fans to merely express their disgust. We need to make our disgust felt through actions, starting with finding another way to spend our Sundays.
This is a great interview and I highly encourage you to read it:
At 8:30 pm E.S.T., the NFL jumpstarts its ninety-fifth season with a donnybrook between the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks and America’s sweetheart hunk of cheddar, the Green Bay Packers. More than 20 million viewers will tune in tonight, and more than 100 million will catch a game over the opening weekend. Football rules the sports landscape. The NFL is king. Break out the nachos and settle in for the 2014 season, right?
Go ahead, but Steve Almond, author of the profound, searching, occasionally squirm-inducing book Against Football: One Fan’s Reluctant Manifesto, won’t be joining. After four decades of being a devoted Oakland Raiders fan, the father of three is calling it quits.
Anyone who pays any attention to the NFL knows we’re not exactly running short on reasons it doesn’t deserve our time (or our money).* Yet the league maintains a stranglehold on its position at the center of American sports culture. I find it basically impossible to defend – “but fantasy football is so fun!” is an atrocious argument for supporting something so fundamentally rotten – but, like so many others, I just can’t bring myself to turn away. Steve Almond does us all a service by calling us on our hypocrisy.
* And as a homegrown fan of the Washington Football Team, I have an entire extra set of reasons to find the sport abhorrent.
Matt Yglesias makes the obvious comparison, and draws the obvious conclusion:
When I was Brown’s age I also dabbled in drugs and alcohol. Even used Swisher Sweets to roll blunts from time to time. For that matter, I also did some shoplifting. Got caught one time by a security guard at the K-Mart on Astor Place who confiscated the stuff I’d stolen and yelled at me a bunch. So I suppose that, when an undercover officer came upon me and two friends smoking cigarettes and drinking beer on a park bench that night, he could have shot us dead and then the Times could have reported that we were no angels. We weren’t.
The NYT’s Michael Brown obit is shameful, but provides a helpful distillation of the insane double standard being applied here, where a kid’s possible youthful transgressions are held out to implicitly justify his cold-blooded killing at the hands of a police officer.
Jessica Sidman of Washington City Paper put together a lovely retrospective on what the city’s restaurant industry has been drinking in its leisure time, going back over a decade and spanning from Irish Mist all the way to Old Overholt. Recommended.
Steven Hyden, for Grantland:
In the past, Weird Al’s timing was perhaps his greatest asset. Right when the culture seemed to be tiring of a particular song or artist, the Weird Al parody would appear. It was the sign of an artist reaching “we love you, but we also can’t stand you” stardom. But that timing now seems rather, well, sluggish, and this has caused Weird Al to drift back into a crowded field. Now that the release of Mandatory Fun completes Yankovic’s record contract, it seems wise to explore more expedient alternatives.
When I asked Yankovic if it still made sense for him to make albums in the future, he was eager to steer the conversation back to the record he had already made and was trying to promote. But in spite of the hemming and hawing, he was pretty clear about what’s next.
“I don’t want to draw any hard lines in the sand, because I’d like to leave all my options open, but I’m feeling like this is probably my last conventional album,” he said.
I think it was Richard Nixon who said “if you’ve lost Weird Al, you’ve lost the traditional music sales model.”