Monday, July 30, 2007

NFL Post

From Peter King's article on Roger Goodell:

When Goodell talks to players, he often mentions how it's a privilege to play in the league, not a right. He says that stance "has resounded more with fans than anything else because I think that's how the fans look at it. I met a TSA screener at Reagan Airport and he said, 'I like what you're doing. I think I like the fact that you're asking people to meet a higher standard.'"

Fucking barf. Where does it end? I'm already extremely leery of the fact that Goodell suspends players who have not been convicted of anything (this, Peter King calls a "no-brainer"). Granted, these guys are idiots. But when does the NFL become a moral arbiter here? Where does the line for holding pro athletes to a higher standard end? The issue for fans who make statements like that "higher standard" line will go - judging from the daily letters to the editor in any newspapers' sports section - from Pacman Jones' ineffable ability to make it rain and allegedly shoot people to someone (black) doing an endzone dance.

The people who approve whole-heartedly of Goodell's efforts strike me as the types who can't stand "show-boating" players who dare to celebrate when they score a touchdown. You know, the types of people whose favorite player tends to be a white back-up wide receiver. The types of people who think due process is for pussies. There's an undeniable envy in people who complain about player conduct (and I'm not talking about whacked shit like slaughtering animals, I'm talking about trash-talk and the like) and assert they'd do it the right way; the type who are aghast at steroid use in baseball who say they'd be privileged just to play the game. Bullshit. I'm not saying they'd definitely use steroids, but there is no way to judge a situation like that unless you are a player who has to decide if he can naturally out-perform those who decide to shoot up.

It's probably easy to dismiss my abhorrence of the NFL as a corporation's conservatism, but I fucking can't stand people who think there's a "right way" to play a sport, a set of unwritten rules that govern things like not celebrating after a big play or running out a fly ball. People in St. Louis actually write in to the Post-Dispatch to complain about Albert Pujols not running out fly balls. They also write in telling him which stance to use in the batter's box. These people love the fact that David Eckstein runs to first after being walked. As the guys at Fire Joe Morgan like to point out, you can take the guy who runs to first, I'll take the guy who hits fucking homeruns.

Pro Sports are Machiavellian enterprises. Players in the NFL are treated like kings until injuries necessitate their getting crapped out of the league, when they can expect money troubles and a low life expectancy. Football requires an otherworldly willingness to inflict pain, an almost unfathomable sadistic streak. Players are basically mercenaries, a status solidified by free agency. Fans are just as capricious as the market. Short of breaking the law, I could give a shit what these players do.


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