It starts to annoy me sometimes when I hear that the NFL is going to fine people for wearing uniforms that don’t match their rule books. I hear that Marshawn Lynch can’t wear gold on the bottom of his shoes or he’ll face some major fine. The man is coming down on you now and you better play by his rules. But you look around the landscape in the NFL and there’s guys with serious domestic violence issues that are spiraling out of control. There’s a tyrant in control that can’t relinquish control of the reigns much less admit that he’s got more power than most leaders of third world countries. In fact he may be in charge of a company that makes more money than most third world countries.
When I wrote about the young ladies who bravely wore pink for Kay Yow I never even thought of Marshawn Lynch and his situation. I thought of how these young ladies were being punished for showing their support for a woman whose life was cut tragically short due to a disease that should be eradicated and NOW! But because people thought about the fact that wearing pink on a uniform does NOT give them an unfair advantage in a basketball game and punishing them for that is just absolutely ridiculous and sends the wrong message, it led me to start thinking about how we send the wrong message in sports all the time.
Young kids watch the NFL and they see these guys are playing on the field, ok, so they see a guy with gold cleats, so? But they look and they see a guy off the field in a grainy black and white video land a punch on his then fiancee and then proceed to drag her lifeless body out into the hall. You tell me, what is the worse message the NFL wants to send? That you can’t be creative in the NFL or that you can play in the NFL and be a woman beater? Or there are players who beat their children and we don’t send out messages to the public to say that the extent of the punishment is absolutely child abuse? A rookie quarterback can be so celebrated even though people around the league know about certain “issues” with him and every time an issue appears it is brushed under the rug. A teammate gets in trouble for failing a pee test and then says he thought he was done with the tests?
All the while there is a third year quarterback who spends EVERY single Tuesday in a children’s cancer hospital without fail because that’s what HE WANTS to do. Every year there is a Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award and each of the 32 NFL teams nominates someone to be that guy. Each man is there because of something he does for the community throughout the year. Some of them, well, it’s like they HAVE to write something about the guy: “In the limited amount of time,” “As a player, time is limited and precious,” well gee don’t do us any favors. I mean there are people outside of football that do things too. I am glad to see some of the great things that these guys do. The guy working with domestic violence shelters and of course guys working with kids. It just shocks me that some of these things can feel so cold.
The league can talk up these guys as MVPs because they throw up however many TDs and run for thousands of yards, but when it comes to what they do in the community, would you even know some of these guys? Would you be able to pick them out on the street or on the field? What does that say about our priorities? Much less the game?