Chicago, IL — Now normally this blog does not talk NFL football but after last week here are some rants. The NFL underwent a rough week last week from a PR standpoint. They managed in one week to insult two minorities the LGBT community and women. Good going NFL. The rather alarming thing is that those inside the NFL or closely associated with the NFL see absolutely nothing wrong with either of these incidents and their overall stance as a league.
Why this is alarming is it is beginning to signal that the NFL along with their players and coaches are beginning to think they are above laws and are reverting to 1950’s thinking which should now be antiquated and more enlightened one would think.
I will go in the order of how the events happened as to not indicate one topic is more important than the other. Early in the week highly respected coach Tony Dungy made the statement that he would not want openly gay football player Michael Sam on his team because of “distractions” that would surround Sam with media attention. Luckily for the NFL there are still some enlightened and smart individuals in their couching fraternity and St. Louis head coach Jeff Fisher does not share Tony Dungy’s tunnel vision.
What was particularly ironic about Dungy’s comments was he was the first one to forgive Michael Vick’s indiscretions and welcome him back and offer to help Vick with open arms. I’m sure when Vick returned to the NFL it was a media circus but that was alright in Dungy’s book. Correct me too if I’m not wrong but Vick spent time in jail for his attention getting story whereas Sam’s is not only not criminal it is who he was born to be. It is part of Michael Sam as is his ethnicity.
So what is the difference other than one coming to the conclusion Tony Dungy does not like LGBT persons. This is fine not everyone has to like everyone. But of all people Dungy should know prejudice is prejudice and someone who I’m sure had many doors closed to him due to the color of his skin should see how wrong prejudices can be and how permanently damaging it can be.
I know people who have certain religious beliefs think this type of prejudice is valid and even justified like to use the bible as their shield. Well are we not supposed to separate church and state or there is no place for an individual’s church or religious beliefs in the workplace either.
Last I looked none of us were absolved of sins. Not that being gay is a sin but those people believe that it is. No one is free of brining “distractions” into the locker room, boardroom or wherever. Sorry Tony anyway you cut it your statements are prejudice, antiquated and quite frankly anything but religious. But I’m not here to change your opinion. Your entitled to it, I’m just happy to know in your own beliefs you’ll have to answer for this when meeting your maker in the meantime however please keep your short sighted thoughts to yourself.
What is sad this is a league that was founded and run by some truly visionary men. Vince Lombardi must be turning over in coach heaven with this. Lombardi stood for what coaching is all about if you can play football better than the next guy then you suit up and play regardless of skin color, sexual orientation or religious beliefs.
Now if that was not bad enough the NFL went on to really damage themselves when they handed out only a two game suspension for Baltimore Ravens Ray Rice for beating his then girlfriend which was caught on video unconscious.
What makes this really damming for the league is it is an affront to women who comprise a large portion of their fan base and have a significant amount of purchasing power. Unlike the Michael Sam/Tony Dungy incident which was a comment by a former coach this was a action that was handed down by the league itself.
The league by handing out such a light penalty infers that it condones the beating of women. I don’t care what the girlfriend did or didn’t do there is no way to justify the hitting and abuse of women. Even if she hit Rice I’m sure there was a way either he could have gotten away from her or restrained her without knocking her unconscious.
Also for those justifying the actions because she has subsequently married Rice is lame. Obviously she has some issues herself but that is really not the issue the issue is Rice’s behavior and lack of control. What is even more disturbing and frankly very disappointing was Ravens’ head coach John Harbaugh’s dismissal of the entire situation. I’m sure he just wants the situation to go away and meant that when he said it was no big deal rather than hitting women was not big deal but Coach Harbaugh you really should clarify this.
The league can try and sweep this away as quickly as possible but what all of this has opened is time and time again the NFL whether it is with Vick, Lewis, Burris or now Rice that some of the NFL quote unquote superstars think they are above the laws of this country and seem to think they can get away with almost everything and that is acceptable.
The League is beginning to have the same line of thinking but some of us fans do not find this acceptable, Mr. Goodell you are responsible for the image the league projects. When a less severe punishment is handed down for the beating of women than for smoking pot which by the way is legal in some states and only a matter of time til the majority of states follow suit one has to wonder if this is not a league that has become so bloated on it’s own arrogance and power that it can no longer self-adjudicate itself.
NFL maybe king for now but that may not always be the case. Remember when boxing & baseball were king? Yeah most people don’t. One day that may become the case with football. I am a fan of football and the NFL which is why these events are so disappointing and distressing. NFL clean it up or you may find people moving on.