Guys, I have got to figure out a better way to navigate all the shitty news that demands our attention, because getting ragey this routinely is so not good for my blood pressure, and dropping dead of a heart attack is a great way to stymie your career.
So I’m going through the news stories about the NFL, because for serious, it is a non-profit organization that makes billions upon billions of dollars, the kind of money that would make even Scrooge McDuck blush with shame at his own greed, and it’s covering up horrific instances of domestic violence, along with some pretty spiffy drug use, and some run-of-the mill violence. But life’s too short for facts and figures, so let’s just agree on the following:
It’s taken how many years for a major moneyed organization to figure out that hitting your head a lot is bad for your brain? That’s crazy. That’s as crazy as taking 500 years to figure out that tobacco products are bad for you (except for people at-risk for colon cancer, because life is nothing if not full of fun little surprises). That’s as crazy as realizing that helping poor people not die is good for society. That’s as crazy as providing free education to everyone because someone figured out that an educated population makes other people a lot richer (and in Sweden, creates an army of pop songwriter magicians). That’s as crazy as something else really obvious and then experiencing the good effects of changing one’s ways. Something something, thank you Captain Obvious, etc.
Seriously, NFL, having employees that get the crap beaten out of them all the time and often results in major and minor head injuries AND those employees having much higher rates of substance abuse, domestic violence, and general criminal activity didn’t tip you off to some sort of connection? Correlation is not causation, but correlation is often worth looking at more closely. I mean, Christ, was it a racist thing? Did the people in charge look at their players, people of color, and just go, “Eh, they’re black. Black men are thugs”? Because that I would kind of believe, as that’s just the world we live in.
Really, I’m throwing stones (poorly, because I don’t sports), and I’m not a real football fan, so I’ve got nothing invested in this, but what the hell, guys. Why are we condoning the violence, the injury, the whole kit and caboodle of football? Isn’t there a better to watch people beat each other up? Isn’t there a more satisfying bonecrunch to be had? Why are we training children to go into a career that gives them no financial security and also mixes their brains up like a fruity drink at a sorority cocktail hour? No one wants that cocktail when it is raising its hand against a family member. That is not a delicious cocktail. That is a cocktail that will make you sad-drunk instead of happy-drunk.
I know, I know, there’s a feeling of camaraderie and kinship, there’s the sense that you’re part of the tribe, the us, I drank the blue and green vodka and yelled at the TV during the Superbowl last year.
I was superexcited that the Seahawks were in it, let alone that they won. Football games are our national weekly thanksgiving, and I get that it makes you feel like you are more than the sum of your parts when you are rooting for a team. But what if your team is totally off the rails? What if your team allows some bad stuff to happen? How bad does your team have to get before you decide that you are disappointed with them and can no longer associate with them? At what point does your team become that friend who you think about often and care for but has continued to choose the exciting, transient life of self-destruction so you have to step back and care for yourself first? Where is your line?
My line is in the elevator where a woman got knocked out and then apologized for being in the way. My line got thicker when a child went home to his mother with bruised and scarred legs. My line became a pretty tall wall when a certain someone named Goodell put the good of the dollars above the good of the people. Newsflash: If your organization supposedly does so much good for society that it doesn’t pay taxes on its (say it with me) billions in income, you should really make an effort to at least make it look like people are your priority. For-profit companies are obligated to make as much money as possible–if they’re public, they are legally bound to do it. If you are not making society better, you should not be a non-profit.
But seriously, does someone have any answers on this one? Seriously, anyone. Because seriously, I can’t even with the NFL right now. For serious.