Either the NFL has not been clear to their players about the on-field conduct they want them to represent, or the players just don’t care. Both are problems, but if the latter is the case, who can blame them? Despite growing unrest from players and fans over the years under Roger Goodell, nobody can deny that the NFL has grown tremendously from a business perspective. However, a myriad of ridiculous rules, unfair and unjust suspensions, the denial of CTE, and overall shaky leadership seems to have finally caught up to the league. More players than ever before are speaking out from the Bennett brothers to Josh Norman, and the fans are too. The NFL’s ratings are down ten percent this season, largely due to the election and prime-time games that look more like pop-warner than the world’s best.
Many people are criticizing the league for their ridiculous policies and on-field conduct rules this year, and rightfully so. There are massive problems with the way the NFL is trying to change its culture, but I don’t think what they’re trying to do is bad. Striving for sportsmanship and professional conduct is valuable. No one can dispute that what happened last year between Josh Norman and Odell Beckham is ever an okay way to represent yourself, a team, a city, and a league. The main issue arises however when what the league wants its constituents to represent is the exact opposite of what the shield itself represents. The NFL has every right to make its product look the way it wants it to look like. However stupid it may be, they can fine Josh Norman for shooting a fake bow and arrow saying it’s a violent act. Just don’t turn around and show us commercials for the new Battlefield 1 game.
That’s where the disconnect is.
The Norman bow & arrow is just one of the long list of the NFL’s hypocritical stances. Just a year ago, Roger Goodell said player safety is the NFL’s number one concern. Jerry Jones then says that there isn’t any proof that football leads to CTE, and Goodell signs another lucrative Thursday Night Football deal, giving players just three days to recover after banging their heads against a brick wall for three hours on a Sunday.
Catching the theme here? The NFL either can’t communicate very well what they think, or just doesn’t care. How does a commissioner who claims player safety to be his NUMBER ONE priority have an owner who doesn’t believe CTE is connected to football?
Apparently, we live in a world where Odell Beckham is fined $25,000 for taking his helmet off in the field of play, but Vontaze Burfict and his baggage taking the knees out of Martellus Bennet on a play where he isn’t close to the ball that could end his career is only $75,000. We live in a world where the NFL will suspend its players 4 games for smoking weed, and has a 6-game standard for beating women.
Fine and penalize Antonio Brown for his twerking because it’s ‘sexually suggestive’, which twerking is. In response, please remove all cheerleaders from NFL sidelines. If a fully uniformed man isn’t allowed to shake his butt, then neither should 20% clothed women on your sidelines. Do something about Gronk giggling about how his next TD will be his 69th. The message isn’t clear. Another issue I see is that the same celebrations that the NFL is trying to stop are the same ones they’re profiting off. Gronk spikes and Cam dabs make people tune in on Sundays.
The trail of incompetence at the top is getting frustrating. If the NFL wants to become a robotic league, not allowing players to express themselves ad God forbid celebrate a little, then they must step up to the plate and make some changes themselves. Actions speak louder than words.
I hear nothing.