A guest post by Big Cuter.
It’s not because my formerly beloved San Francisco 49ers have gone completely in the tank. Sure that helps, but I like to think that it really just freed me to follow my head. My heart is no longer in it. This isn’t some knee jerk reaction. This is something that I’ve struggled with for the past 18 months.
Lets back up a bit. Who am I and why does/should my trial separation matter to the NFL? Well, Burrow denizens, I’m Ashleigh’s son, so there’s that. I’m a 32 year old, single (much to my mother’s dismay), man who for most of my life defined myself by my football fandom. Examples? Well, I’m glad you (didn’t) ask!
- Shallowly, in those Facebook word-clouds of most used words in the last year, FOOTBALL easily came in first.
- I’ve created 15 page PowerPoints to teach football to significant others.
- Every Wednesday during the football season TBG and I go through every single NFL game and pick the winner against the gambling spread – all for pride, and mostly to prove that we shouldn’t gamble. We shouldn’t.
- I’ve played fantasy football for 16 consecutive years, and have been commissioner of a league with an 8 page rule sheet (written by me, of course) for the past 6 years.
- A sizable portion of my wardrobe is 49ers branded.
- I’ve always said that one of my two deal-breakers in accepting a potential life partner would be her not respecting the fact that, from August through the Super Bowl, Sundays are reserved for football.
- And, I’ve spent the past 200 words describing my fandom and probably not even scratched the surface.
So, I’m an enfranchised fan of the NFL. Or I was. Why am I working on a trial separation right now, writing this blog post while a playoff game is being waged between the Green Bay Packers and the Washington Professional Football Team? Many, many reasons. But let's start with the home team in that previously mentioned game.
Outside of Our Nation’s Capitol, it is widely, and legally, recognized that the term “Redskin” is a racial slur. It might not trigger the visceral revulsion that other words do, but that’s likely because most of us don’t come across Native Americans nearly as much as we do other minority groups (and that’s a topic for a different post). Rather than change with the times, The Washington Professional Football Team’s owner has defended this ridiculous moniker.
Mr. Snyder is widely reviled, and for many reasons having nothing to do with football, but in my mind this is the best reason. When you’re lumping yourself in with “SHANK THE B!T@H board games” and “RETARDIPEDIA”, maybe that’s a signal that you’re on the wrong side of the argument.
Another reason that I am considering a trial separation from the NFL is the public funding of stadiums. I’m fully in favor of a free market, and I think financial success should be lauded. But when St. Louis's offer of 300 million taxpayer dollars to the owner of the Rams is deemed "inadequate" by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, something is really wrong.
Let’s be clear: these proposals are not in the form of a loan that must be paid back to support an industry that will make the world a better place, or save the global economy.
Nope, this is a check of tax payers dollars that is being handed over to a .0000001%-er. Is that “.0000001%-er” necessarily a bad person? Not at all, although many, as Redskins fans well know, are.
But should the public be forking over hundreds of millions of dollars to private industry when the case that the public benefits in any tangible financial way is tenuous at best? I’d argue that there are better ways for that money to be spent.
Do you need more reasons?
- There’s the fact that Roger Goodell, this living example of the Peter Principle makes $44 million/year, enough for even POTUS to take notice.
- There’s the fact that Daily Fantasy Sports, basically a pyramid scheme, is hugely funded by the NFL and its teams.
- And then there’s the fact that it’s a modern day blood sport. Look, I’m a big fan of TV shows about gladiatorial games (or at least the first two seasons). But when it’s happening in real life right in front of my eyes, it’s harder to take. Saturday night’s Steelers-Bengals game was the straw that broke my camel’s back.
- Oh, and lets not forget the acceptance of child abusers, spousal abusers, rapists, murderers, and criminal kingpins. Are there other industries that also harbor such wonderful pillars of the community? Probably, but I don’t have to support them, and I don’t have to support this one either.
It’s just so hard to quit, but I’m trying.