Originally Published September 1, 2016
The following was written in 2016 and reposted here due to its ongoing, unfortunate relevance to the pathetic condition of sports and other entertainment industries. ~Ed.
Update follows post…
My grandma learned a saying back in the day, that serendipitously rhymed with what accent remained:
“Don’t-a sheet-a where you eat-a.”
I simply say: “Stay in your lane,” but you get the gist…
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One of the biggest questions I’ve had throughout the NFL’s “Take-A-Knee” campaign, is how in Hades NFL Team owners ascended to their positions of prestige given the utter incompetence with which they’ve handled this debacle, which has resulted in the substantial degradation of their brand.
This was so preventable…
When tantrums, posturing and peacocking began, why didn’t owners simply send out a memo, reminding everyone of their agreed-upon contractual obligations, promising to tackle their concerns in a less offensive way? That would have gone much further than babying the “sheet” out of grown men, and pissing off fans.
And for the record, the crux of this issue for many of us, was never whether or not we agreed with the political antics and commentary of the players, rather that the NFL allowed the political antics and commentary of the players to ruin a sacred sanctuary from all the other political antics and commentary in the world.
Politics and sports do not mix, period. The encroachment of the former always precludes the enjoyment of the latter, and like it or not, the NFL’s job is to entertain…preferably via skill and sportsmanship vs. the implication that fans who buy tickets and merchandise are racists, when the only colors about which most fans care, reside on someone’s jersey.
But skin color, religion, profession, sex? None of that mattered; if you had on the right jersey, you were in my tribe. Humans crave that type of connection; the type that proclaims “what we disagree on just doesn’t matter here.” That was an offering unique to the sports realm; an offering they scrubbed for political correctness.
Sadly, that refuge is gone, possibly never to return, because when someone says “NFL” now, politics, grandstanding, empty gestures & disrespect come to mind, and here’s the capper: The acerbic sputum comes from a bunch of ungrateful, privileged men of all colors, who make millions to play a daggum game, and somehow feel entitled to admonish and bully their blue collar fan base about their “privilege.” #Eyeroll
Excuse me, a prayer just came to mind:
Dear Lord, please arrange for me to run into an NFL player who tries to lecture me about privilege. In Jesus’ Name, amen.
If NFL players genuinely desire to affect change in our culture, God bless them. Instead of grandstanding with useless, empty gestures and platitudes, why not proactively organize and announce which players had formed or partnered with “XYZ charity,” to which he has personally pledged “x” amount of time and “x” amount of money toward a certain goal, and would love for the fans to join them. Spotlight one during every halftime. THAT would’ve been putting their money where their mouths, er, knees are…
While I’m already over most sports, I do wish the newly-woke NFL luck as they cater to a crowd more likely to burn down their stadiums than buy a T-shirt, and will float some pro bono advice…
When the full wussification of football is complete -and that’s where things are headed on the current trajectory – owners brave enough to purchase another team in another sport, need only remember two things to remain successful:
1. Stay in your lane.
2.”Don’t-a sheet-a where you eat-a.”
“People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.” ~Vince Lombardi