Saturday, November 09, 2013

NFL is “Jail with money”

“The NFL is like jail with money. It really is. There is a culture of intimidation, humiliation and violence.  That makes you… You know they try to keep you in control.” – Terry Crews

“Hey, wassup, you half-nigger piece of shit. I saw you on Twitter, you been training 10 weeks. [I want to] shit in your fucking mouth. [I'm going to] slap your fucking mouth. [I'm going to] slap your real mother across the face [laughter]. Fuck you, you're still a rookie. I'll kill you.” – Richie Incognito

I happen to be a fan of professional football. I come from a family of sport fans. In the days when we only had channels 2 through 13, it was a big deal when Ohio State games were televised and my dad made a very big deal out of watching his favorite team. I knew way more than I needed to about Woody Hayes (google if you must) and how brilliant he was. It was all a lot of fun and I have great memories about it.

My level of interest has waxed and waned over time but I’ve been a consistent football fan for the past couple of years and I’m a big fan of the New York Giants. It is a great sport and I admire the skill of the players. I enjoy having a kind of camaraderie with other fans who understand why I’m happy or sad or why I like or dislike a person or a team. It has been fun, but all that started to change for me recently.

Last week, Jonathan Martin, a black player for the Miami Dolphins, left the team after enduring insults, humiliations and threats to his family from team mate Richie Incognito. (Yes, that is his real name.) The story itself was pretty shocking, but the real shock came when black players defended Incognito and berated Martin. To a person they said the same things. Martin should just “man up” and ought to have “handled it in house.” He was called “weak” and “a coward.”

I assumed that football players were not the most enlightened people, but I’m shocked that they do in fact live up to the worst stereotypes about dumb jocks. It is heart breaking to see these black men sound like old segregationists whining about their “way of life.” Football has its own culture we are told. That’s just the way it is. Everyone is first bullied and then bullies others.

In other words, they are a bunch of highly paid gangsters with the NFL locker room being like a prison yard. If that is the case they can play without getting more of my time, energy or attention.

In case you didn’t google Woody Hayes, you should know that he was fired after he punched an opposing player. Yup. I have been in denial for years.

It is hard to stop doing things we find enjoyable, which is we have rehab and weight watchers. Tomorrow is Sunday and will be the first day of my football reduced diet. Time for a different hobby.