The League of Extraordinary Hypocrisy starring Roger Goodell
A punishment imposed for a violation, or a penalty. All sports have them because all sports have their own rules. Here in America our biggest sport happens to belong to the National Football League, which displays some of our most strongest and athletic beings on a weekly basis; men who embrace head on collisions with other beings in the spirit of fun. If we take a step back to a broader picture and imagine what the world’s biggest sport is we would end up with images of another brand of football, known as soccer. Soccer is by far the biggest global sport and remains a top-ten sport in every country measured. It’s biggest stage, the World Cup, is watched by an estimated 600 million people and brings in a surplus of money accordingly. Soccer puts on a non-stop event displaying not only athletic individuals but more importantly some of the best conditioned a country has to offer. These players have bee seen running around the field in an all out sprint and sliding to their knees upon the grass with sounds of yelling and passion all in the name of GOAL. Not only does this excite the fans who paid money to come witness such talent but also the other players on the team and viewers from home. Getting paid to perform in such an arena can already be defined as the epitome of excitement but to succeed and score a point and personally effect a game that you love has to be on another level .The worlds’ biggest sport fully embraces its players celebrating in a manner of different ways and understands the difficulty that it entails. Here in America things are a little different.
Referees in the NFL have seemingly been quicker to throw flags this year for player celebration than in past years. Whether its twerking after scoring a touchdown, or doing a horrible version of the cupid-shuffle after picking up the much-needed first down, cutting down on the celebrating has clearly been a focal point for the National Football League. Why would a league oppose its players rejoicing in success so much? I’m glad you asked! The unofficial answer from the NFL has been that they are trying to set a better example for the youth football fans and players about gamesmanship. In 15 years from now the stars of the NFL will be completely different than the names we hear on current Sundays, and those people are children who are most likely now watching games every week on television. Kudos to commissioner Goodell and the league because who can knock somebody’s actions when its done for the sake of children? But before we email President Obama and have him issue Goodell some sort of medal for his good-natured heart lets visit the hypocrisy in the NFL’s ideals of “for the children”. This is the same league that shows Budweiser commercials during every game, deeming it “ the official beer sponsor of the NFL”. Is that a good example for the kids watching? This is the same league has been on record giving its players a few games suspension for domestic violence. An issue that if were to happen to someone who didn't pay in the NFL would lead to jail time. Is that something our youth need to look up to? Yet the league is willing to give a 15-yard penalty to Josh Norman for shooting a pretend arrow after making a huge defensive stop for his team, which is also the penalty if Josh Norman were to launch his helmet into another players helmet, or hit a quarterback in the knee on purpose. Basically the NFL is telling us Antonio Brown twerking in the end zone after scoring a touchdown is equally as egregious when Albert Haynesworth stomped Andre Gurode’s helmetless head in 2006, which required him needing a multitude of stitches. To be fair someone reading this could say that I'm making a stretch with that comparison because they are completely different situations and levels of seriousness and to that I would agree. I would also ask if that is the case, why were both situations both initially flagged for the same unsportsmanlike penalty and later both players fined thousands of dollars? Now obviously Albert was also suspended games, but both players were hit with the same penalty and later received fines after the game. What kind of message is that sending to the children who are to be the future of the NFL?
I am not one to spend all my thoughts on bashing the NFL and pointing out its inconsistency. I’ll be the first to acknowledge the league is seemingly putting an effort forward to iron out some of these aforementioned issues. For example in weeks 1-7 NFL referees handed out 71 penalties combined for taunting and unsportsmanlike conduct. In weeks 8-13 only 29 combined, which honestly is a huge difference. That tells me one thing, Roger hears us, and the NFL hears us. If it wasn't for us fans there would be no league. When we complain the NFL powers hear what we say and from there it’s up to them to deem it something that deserves attention and or action. This issue of celebrating is one of the small fish in the sea of hypocrisy that is the NFL but they have made progress. We can only hope that the same will be done with the bigger problems.