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.
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.
When Qatar was awarded the 2022 World Cup, everyone pretty much agreed that they had bought it illicitly. Qatar is utterly unsuitable for a massive outdoor sports tournament, and utter corruption is more or less how FIFA rolls. As The Telegraph discovered… yep:
Jack Warner, the former vice-president of Fifa, appears to have been personally paid $1.2 million (£720,000) from a company controlled by a former Qatari football official shortly after the decision to award the country the tournament.
Deadspin‘s analysis notes Warner’s history of suspicious circumstances:
Warner, the former president of CONCACAF, is no stranger to controversy. In 2011, the Trinidadian was accused of demanding cash and gifts from England’s FA in exchange for his 2018 World Cup vote. Later that year, Warner was caught on tape urging Caribbean Football Union members to accept envelopes full of money to back Mohamed Bin Hammam’s bid for FIFA president.
Bin Hammam was banned for life; Warner stepped down, putting him beyond the reach of any FIFA punishment. But the FBI is said to be investigating the Caribbean-based fraud (payments for which, according to the Telegraph, were routed through American banks). “It’s shaping up to be a major case,” one U.S. official told Reuters.
The FBI is investigating, while the relevant parties in the United States are surely quietly sending emails with subjects like “you know, our reliable, well-maintained, fully-functional infrastructure is available in 2022…”
Barry Petchesky of Deadspin aggregates/opines:
Oregon State pitcher Ben Wetzler has been suspended since the start of college baseball season.The NCAA is investigating whether he retained the services of an agent to negotiate with the Phillies, who drafted him in the fifth round in 2013 but were unable to sign him. Now it seems the Phillies have snitched on him, so that if he won’t play for them, he can’t play his senior year of college either.
Aaron Fitt of Baseball America is all over this story (the Phillies also reportedly tattled on sixth-round pick Jason Monda, who was cleared by the NCAA last week), and it’s despicable on multiple levels.
If this were Twitter I’d say #everythingisterrible but seeing as it’s a blog, I’ll instead say: college athletes are completely screwed and nobody is looking out for them, and it’s pathetic. And as a secondary point: all Philadelphia sports teams are disdainful.
The New York Times:
Now Mr. Sam enters an uncharted area of the sports landscape. He is making his public declaration before he is drafted, to the potential detriment to his professional career. And he is doing so as he prepares to enter a league with an overtly macho culture, where controversies over homophobia have attracted recent attention.
From Outsports’s story:
Sam had in fact told his team at the University of Missouri that he was gay last summer. It was prompted by a simple team-building exercise with a question from a coach: “Tell us something we don’t know about you.” Some of the team had already known. Some were shocked by the news. All of them embraced him. None of them told the media.
Sam played the entire 2013 season, leading the SEC in sacks and leading his team to a win in the Cotton Bowl, as a gay man out to his team and coaching staff.
This is a big deal. I’ll be rooting for him.
Not easy to steal the spotlight from Bill Walton but this young Cal student does so with aplomb.