Many of you are aware that I said goodbye to the NFL this fall after the Ray Rice scandal hit and wonder how I did. Â Here are my thoughts of the NFL season that never was.
- I still watched some football. Â I am a Notre Dame fan and of course Mark plays high school football (where he played every position on the defence this season). Â I enjoyed a lot of it. Â I also came to grips that I am not a CFL fan. Â I wish I was a bigger one but I really am not.
- We cancelled cable and I got rid of my NFL Now subscription. Â That hurt a bit but I vowed not to give the NFL any money in 2014. Â I didnâ€™t.
- I spent my Sundays with Wendy which was time well spent. Â We went for coffee at City Perk, out for walks, and explored the city.
- I realized how much time some of my friends spend watching the NFL. Â Sunday, Monday, and Thursdays. Â Thatâ€™s a lot of time in front of a television.
- After spending 25 years a die hard Denver Broncos fan, it was weird not to know how they were doing during the season.
- Despite giving up on the game, I still heard a lot about Jonny Football. Â That isnâ€™t a good thing.
- I am still a fan of the game but Roger Goodall makes the game almost impossible to respect. Â Even if you get past him, you have Jerry Jones, Jerry Richardson, Woody Johnson, Jimmy Haslam, Jerry Jones (whose stadium uses more oil than Liberia on game days), and of course Daniel Snyder who are all owners who have done horrible things. Â Of course the NFL and other leagues all have horrible owners (Darryl Katz anyone?) but the idea of me giving my money to them really bothers me. Â Again, Iâ€™m not calling for a boycott, itâ€™s just a personal decision.
- I have spent a little more time watching the Raptors (maybe because they are good), the Calgary Flames (after we had a breakup back in the late 90s during the second last lockout) and while I canâ€™t watch such bad hockey, I find myself enamoured by the train wreck that is the Edmonton Oilers.
- I should link to this, other pro sports owners are horrible humans as well.
- In the end, not watching the NFL wasnâ€™t really that big of deal. Â It is a bunch of millionaire athletes playing a childâ€™s game in the hope of winning a championship which will somehow validate themselves in their minds. Â Itâ€™s fun to watch but doesnâ€™t matter a lot to me in the big picture.
- It is also a big business in which local communities are pitted against each other to keep their billionaire franchise owners even richer. Â That part is what I find so offensive.
- I was happy to see the NFL take a tougher stance against Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson but at the same time, this should have been done decades ago. Â For all of the Ray Riceâ€™s, there was a Warren Moon who was never suspended. Â I am hoping there are changes moving forward but I am still going to take a wait and see. Â I just have no faith in Goodall or owners like Richardson who wonâ€™t cut or suspend Greg Hardy.
Pro Football Talkâ€™s Mike Florio is talking about the NFL learning from the debacle that is Donald Sterling but the lessons are universal.
While it remains impossible to open a window into a personâ€™s soul to see whether the poison of racism resides there, it is possible to screen those whose words and actions suggest that they harbor such beliefs.
Donald Sterlingâ€™s words and actions suggest that he does. And the evidence existed long before TMZ published its tape of his voice.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Sterling agreed in 2009 to a $2.765 million settlement of charges that he discriminated against African-Americans and others at an apartment building he owned. The Times also reports that a lawsuit filed in 2003 accused Sterling of saying â€œHispanics smoke, drink and just hang around the building,â€ and that â€œblack tenants smell and attract vermin.â€ The case was resolved with a confidential settlement, but Sterling reportedly paid $5 million in legal fees to the plaintiffs.
Amazingly, those claims and the settlements of those claims generated little or no publicity or scorn of Sterling. If an NFL owner were accused of such conduct, the mere allegations would become major national news. If an NFL owner ever settled a case involving such allegations, the league office undoubtedly would be forced to take decisive action or face strong contentions of the existence of a double standard.
Itâ€™s all the more reason for the NFL to treat this occasion as the catalyst for ensuring that its house â€” specifically, its 32 houses â€” are in order. Existing owners should be warned clearly about the potential consequences of such conduct. Potential owners should be screened even more carefully to determine that they have done or said nothing that would suggest that their hearts are rotten with racism or other qualities that could result in their wealth and power being used to violate the rights of others.
Per a league source, NFL owners already expect Commissioner Roger Goodell to address the situation in some way at the next ownership meetings in May.
Itâ€™s often impossible to get to the truth of a personâ€™s attitudes regarding matters of race. But the Sterling situation underscores the importance of taking all reasonably available steps to ensure that the countryâ€™s biggest sports business is doing business with people who have not only the wealth to assume such an important responsibility, but also the character.
Some of you know I am a big fan of Yahoo! Sportsâ€™ Mike Silver. He has a great column on Terrelle Pryorâ€™s entrance into the NFL Supplemental Draft and the hypocrisy that is shown by the NFL by punishing Pryor and letting coaches like Pete Carroll to move on from programs under suspension to the NFL.
By essentially accepting Pryorâ€™s suspension, Smith is daring Goodell to apply the same standard to non-players who land NFL jobs after having run afoul of the NCAA. If and when Goodell fails to do so (and Iâ€™m not holding my breath that he will), I believe Smith would make some noise, and heâ€™d occupy the moral high ground in the process.
That, of course, is not the endgame for the NFLPA. I believe the union is thinking about this issue on a much larger level and considering its options toward reforming a corrupt system that leaves many of its future members in a defenseless and subservient situation.
Could college athletes ultimately unionize to protect their rights, either with the NFLPAâ€™s implicit support, or perhaps under its umbrella as part of a labor partnership?
Itâ€™s a tricky proposition, but I definitely wouldnâ€™t rule it out.
In the meantime, NFL players have a right to be angry about Pryorâ€™s suspension. They canâ€™t help but compare the situation to that of, say, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who left USC one step ahead of the NCAAâ€™s slow-footed enforcement arm, boarded Paul Allenâ€™s private jet and made a soft, $33-million landing in Seattle.
This is from Pro Football Talk Daily
Limbaugh also suggested that he was led to believe he’d have a role in the operation of the team, but he did not contradict Checketts’ recent representation that Limbaugh was only going to be a minority owner.
Limbaugh then argued that his exclusion from the process originated with NFLPA Executive Director De Smith, and then Limbaugh argued that Smith is essentially an operative for the Obama administration, and that Smith essentially scared NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (whose last name Limbaugh inexplicably mispronounced) into not doing business with Limbaugh.
Specifically, Limbaugh claims that the move was part of the union’s leverage against the NFL as part of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
But the NFL and the union currently are at odds on multiple topics. The notion that the NFL would cave to Smith given his ties to Obama on this one issue — and not on any of the other far more important points of contention between the two sides — suggests a superficial understanding of the business of the NFL at best, and a conscious manipulation of reality at worst.
So Rush believes he was dumped because the union wants to "intimidate and frighten" the owners, who by the way currently are doing their best to intimidate and frighten the union by sending up continuous smoke signals of a looming lockout. And it’s all part of a broader effort by the President to put pro football under his thumb. Despite the fact that the owners are currently doing their best to intimidate and frighten the union into thinking that a lockout is coming.
Republican or Democrat, red state or blue state, conservative or liberal, the notion that Limbaugh was railroaded by the White House as part of a broader effort by the White House to impose its agenda on pro football makes no sense.
A quick question, do any of think that Barack Obama blocked (or even cared) if Rush Limbaugh owns a small part of the St. Louis Rams? The threat to the NFLâ€™s business plan seemed to be more at risk from Rushâ€™s comments rather than Barack Obamaâ€™s re-election chances. I agree with Mike Florio, Rush lives in a different reality than the rest of us, this time his departure from reality was just a little more harmless and little more humorous than usual. The bigger question is, â€œWhat was Dave Checkettâ€™s thinking when he asked Rush to join his ownership team?â€ I wish someone would do a poll to see even if Rushâ€™s listeners bought his comments that Obama is blocking him from owning a NFL team.