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.
I’m on the record as skeptical about whether Washington signing DeSean Jackson is a great idea, but I’ve been arguing since the day the Eagles cut him that the insane “gang ties” smear job he received was completely unfair. Good to see Richard Sherman, who knows something about being judged based on where/how you grew up, stand up for Jackson here.
Now let’s just hope for success on the field and an atypical-for-this-franchise lack of drama off the field.
I’m not going to conduct a poll about it, and I’m not going to target-question American Indians, but I will venture to say some Washington football fans are uncomfortable with the team’s name. I know because I’m one of them.
So we partnered with Sneeki’s Tees, which designs awesome D.C. sports stuff, to make a T-shirt that a progressive Redskins fan can wear without having a racial slur across his/her chest. Consider it an act of silent, wearable protest. Plus, it’s pretty good-looking shirt.
I love this shirt and bought one immediately. If you’re a fan of DC football but not a fan of using a racial slur as a team name, you should buy one too.
As an aside, maybe the team should change the name to “Football Team”. There might be some trademark issues but “DCFT” has a nice ring to it, right? And we’d already have these sweet shirts.
“Andrew Luck probably would have been given a $100 million contract if he was on the free market last year,” Stuart says. “That’s not an exaggeration. If he was a [free agent] tomorrow, he’d easily sign for something in excess of $20 million a year due to his age and skill level.”
Instead, Luck’s current salary is reportedly around $21.3 million over four years, artificially constrained by: (a) the draft nixing competition among potential employers; (b) a new, collectively-bargained NFL rookie wage scale that drives down salaries even further. While this might be legal, it’s hardly fair. It might even qualify as un-American. Like amateurism, it’s only something we accept in sports because we’ve been conditioned not to think about it, and instead train our collective focus on 40-yard dash times.
A great long column by Patrick Hruby sums up why the NFL should ditch the draft.
Time makes fools of us all.