Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Boycott the NFL?

Let me start out by saying that I'm the type of person who believes your employer has no business being involved in your personal life and taking action against you for something that took place outside the workplace.  For instance, I'm against the now-all-too-common piss test -- and background checks for that matter -- with the exception of people who drive for a living.  Unless you're a public person, your personal life has nothing to do with your employer.
I also want to say that we should at least recognize that our prying eyes in to Ray Rice's fiancĂ©'s private life is an unfortunate side effect of all this and she really is entitled to her privacy.  This is why I have not and will not watch that video.
Now with that out of the way, let's remember that the NFL is very much a public industry and that we, the fans, pay the bills; and therefore, we have every right to want to spend money on a league with integrity (let's not forget that word) and who oversees a product and administers that product in a way that we can feel good about.
Domestic violence is still out of control in this country.  I use the word still because no one should fool themselves into thinking that it hasn't always been there.  Fortunately, at least, these days it is something that the public cares more about than in the past.  I know I'm not the only fan of American sports who would like to see these leagues make an enormous effort to get out front of this issue and try to help eliminate (too much to ask, I know) it from our society.
So while I'm not fond of big brother (read American businesses) knowing everything I do and judging everything I do, I am very much for the NFL and other leagues taking the stance that they will not support its employees in any way, shape or form who commit domestic violence. 
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not supporting what the NFL has done thus far in the Ray Rice case.  All they've done, everything they've done, has been PR.  The league office knew full well this much if nothing else:  That if Ray Rice pulled his unconscious fiancĂ© out of an elevator by her hair  -- and they knew from testimony that he hit her to create her unconsciousness -- then they knew without seeing the video that he knocked her out.  What the hell comes to your mind when you hear that a woman was hit and became unconscious, and you've seen video of her assailant pulling her unconscious body out of an elevator by her hair with seemingly no emotion at all?  You don't need to see the act to know what it was -- it was a very violent punch to the face.
So now the NFL is finding itself having to backstep, tread water, cover up messes from its bullshit stance that they didn't see, couldn't see, didn't and couldn't have access to see this video.  So fucking what, frankly?!
I want to see this country wake up regarding this epidemic and how lightly we still take it.  I have a personal history in this subject and I'll leave it at that.  So I think I will join my friend RJ and boycott the NFL this weekend and I ask you to do the same.  Maybe, just maybe, we can make them feel it where it hurts (in the wallet) just enough to take a much stronger stance on this issue going forward.  And oh yeah, my team's owner has publicly been out supporting Goodell's actions to this point and Bob Kraft should know better.  Being a human being sometimes has to take precedence over being a business owner.  The bottom line doesn't always have to equal the financial bottom line.
I apologize for the rambling nature of this piece and I'm sure there's holes in it because I tend to write a stream of consciousness.   And to RJ, I wrote this post before I read yours, so that my thoughts were entirely my own.  Now off to read yours.


The Huntress said...

I don't know if you saw it, but a couple of hours ago the AP reported that the NFL saw the full video back in April. That makes our last two posts on the blog justified.

baj said...

What Rice did was reprehensible. No question. Unforgivable. However, I have to say that, I think we should be careful about expecting the NFL to be responsible for punishing people for crimes they commit, especially before they have been provided with due process. The NFL is not a Court of Law. It is not responsible for prosecuting and punishing criminals. It is an employer, certainly, and, as was pointed out, one in the business of providing entertainment that depends in no small part on its public image. But, it isn't a court, and should never seek to or be expected to replace one. Our constitution provides protections for the accused. Ray Rice is entitled to due process, like everyone else. He hasn't had it yet. So, let's give him a fair trial. Then, we'll hang him.

That's not to say, of course, that the NFL hasn't handled this at all well. Lying about when they got the video and watched it and why they decided to take the actions they did (or didn't) are cowardly and despicable in their own right.

At any rate, I hope Ray Rice is prosecuted and sentenced as he should be for his crime. But, I'm not going to depend on the NFL for that. That's why we have a court system. In the meantime, though, I am not interested in watching Ray Rice play football, either.

Zebster said...

B, I think we're on the same page, except that I believe he got what he's going to get in the legal system, and she's not going to press difficult roadblock of domestic abuse.

Zebster said...

We can be the court of public opinion and be very persuasive about our expectations, and this is a cause worth exerting that pressure.

Brent said...

The prosecutor in the Rice case said that even if he were convicted in court, that the charge would have been a misdemeanor in Jersey law and Rice wouldn't have served jail time.

While I agree that Rice should be in jail and that domestic violence is still a rampant crime that doesn't get prosecuted nearly enough, I reserve the right not to say that the NFL has done something heinous here. I want to see what comes out in the next days and week. I do believe that they lied about what they knew and when they knew it, but all big corporations lie about knowing information and when they knew about it.

As for Goodell being fired, that tipping point is if it is proven that the NFL received the video in April. If so, then Goodell must be canned.

Pam Balancio said...

Well written, Zeb. And certainly no rambling in my opinion. And I like the comment above from baj. This is just such a reprehensible act and unfortunately all too prevalent in our society. It has to be stopped. And if we can start with the NFL setting the example then let it get started. No NFL TV for me this weekend. Not wearing my Chargers T-shirt. Will do my little bit of protest in my little corner of the world. That's all we can do right now. Thanks for letting us know about this post on your blog. I don't always get around to looking at this but will do so more in the future. You write very well. Especially when passionate about the subject. Thanks again.

DC Homer said...

(I replied with this same comment to RJ's post. Part 1 of 2)

I'm a little conflicted as to how to respond to RJ and Zeb's comments regarding a boycott of the NFL. While RJ's position is clear that the NFL, as an entity, is a "bad actor," I'm not quite sure if Zeb's concern is the character of the NFL, or the character or Ray Rice. So, I'll attempt to respond to both RJ and Zeb in a single reply, and I'll share my view on both the league (all pro sports leagues), and the conduct of Mr. Rice.
First, let me open by saying I have little to no regard to the NCAA! ("What does the NCAA have to do with the NFL and Ray Rice, George?") Well, to my old, tired eyes, the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLS, WTA, PGA, MLB, and the XYZ all owe tribute and allegiance to the National Collegiate Athletic Association, in their subterfuge-laced, but well-played "shill" role as a "feeder" organization for their profit margin. The NCAA is the incubator of all that is bad about our American professional sports leagues, and it (NCAA) contributes to the conduct that the shareholders of the NFL (for example)--the fans--are now so conflicted over. Plain and simple, the NCAA, like its parents (the various "leagues/associations") is really in it for the money. Not for a moment do I believe in its bullshit claim that it exists for the advancement of "competition" and team play among student athletes. It's a business, plain and simple. When a football head coach of its premier conference earns 8 times the salary of the school's president, and 4 times the salary of the entire school's board of trustees, that's a sign it's a business.
("But what's that got to do with the NFL, or Ray Rice, George??") The NCAA itself, the alumni, and boosters, encourage people like Ray Rice to forego a true, altruistic pursuit of education and life-line improvement, in lieu of the lucrative contracts that ultimately benefit the NCAA and their prospective pro league employers. When a guy like Ray Rice, who, but for the NFL, would likely be no different from any other wife-beating miscreant we see on the streets every day, all of whom, had they been caught in the act of pummeling their wife (or anyone) would be UNDER the jail when caught--when a guy like that becomes a "hero" and a "superstar" to both the NCAA and the NFL, it becomes a very difficult choice to then crucify your money-maker.
Yes, there are good guys in the pro leagues, many of whom actually use their college degrees, but the preponderance either don't have degrees or don't use them or the "education" they received when in school. Considered a Heisman candidate, Mr. Rice left Rutgers after three years to pursue his NFL halo; I ask myself: what was the point of Rice going to Rutgers in the first place? To earn a college degree from a prestigious, Ivy League wannabe school? Hell no, it was his entry to the NFL! He knew that, the NCAA knew that, and the NFL knew it!
In the middle of all of this, Mr. Rice, a 27-year old child, seemed to have forgotten what we want to believe his mama and papa taught him: The Golden Rule. He seemed to have forgotten that lessons of life that, presumably, his parents, his grade school teachers, his preacher, his uncle Joe, his friends, Rutgers University, the NCAA, the NFL, Oprah, Dr. Phil, and Judge Judy taught him: Be nice! Don't hit people! Don't cold-cock your girlfriend behind closed doors, in front of hidden cameras, and for goodness sake, don't drag her unconscious body by her head!
But Ray Rice isn't the first to act like this--and, unfortunately, he won't be the last. The NFL (as with all pro leagues) is replete with Ray Rices: Rae-Rae Carruth, HamburgerHelper Haynesworth, Packman Jones, Michael Vick, Donte Stallworth, Big Ben Rothlesberger, Cedric Benson, Lawrence Taylor, and the whole Minnesota Vikings team.

DC Homer said...

(Part 2 of 2)

This brings me to my second point: Conduct. As fans, what do we really, sincerely, and truly expect of professional athletes when it comes to their off-field conduct? Are we looking for mild-mannered, milquetoast, introverted choir boys who "do it" only in the missionary position (with one foot on the floor and the lights on--and only to procreate), who never smoke, cuss, spit, roll their eyes, or eat red meat? I'm not saying we WANT uncouth barbarians on our TVs every Sunday, I'm saying we want men of high COUTH, to cleanly and gentlemanly bash the shit out of each other on our TVs every Sunday! Let me be also very clear: I'm not saying the NFL breeds wife beaters and thugs, but I am saying its gives refuge to wife beaters and thugs, as long as their wife beating and thuggery doesn't impact their bottom-line. But let's look at that third actor--the fans, us--we'uns. What is it we want? How do we want the players to act? How do we want the league to act? How do we want expect the league to treat women? Rice clearly treats them as objects for his Taebo workouts, but how does the NFL treat women? Clearly as SEX OBJECTS--something to pursue. Anyone that knows me, knows my rants on cheerleaders, but for those of you who don't--here it is in the form of a couple of questions: Why are cheerleaders scantily dressed? Who goes to a football game to watch cheerleaders? Women - (45%)? Pre-teen girls (11%)? Boys (32%)? Who can hear an NFL cheerleader's cheers? Do you root on the team based on the promptings of the cheerleaders? My point: the NFL (and NBA) objectify women. And because everyone wants a piece of the pro athletes pie and are willing to do whatever it takes to hang out with them, the players see (some of) them as objects to pursue.
I'm not saying Ms. Rice took that elevator ass whuppin' and married Ray-Ray anyway knowing she would eventually "benefit"; I'm not giving her that much credit for being that conniving. I'm not saying that--but I do wonder why any woman who, after getting the shit beat out of 'em, WOULD marry the guy who beat the shit out of 'em. Yeah, yeah, I know about whatever that 'syndrome' thing is that makes people love the people who beat the shit out of 'em, despite themselves.
So, will I boycott the NFL because of their duplicitous, enabling, hypocritical, profit-minded attitude? I don't know. If we were talking about the NCAA (which we are not--I'm the only one talking about them), then my response would be HELL YEAH! (Uh, I'm already on a self-imposed lifetime ban of the NCAA, btw!) But we're talking about the NFL--a league of "professional" "men" (mutually exclusive terms) who know the "game" going in, and as a fan, I also know how the game is played. So, I absolutely care about conduct, and this whole thing comes down to conduct. I'm very, very glad Ray Rice got terminated, and if he never plays another down of football, that would be too soon for me. I hate people who abuse ANYBODY. So, fuck him! But notwithstanding that, I really--honestly, sincerely, and truly, don't give a shit what a pro athlete does, meaning, let them take all the drugs they want--LEGALIZE IT! I'd love to see a bunch of hyped up, 300-pound uncouth barbarians try to rip each other's heads's better than this namby-pamby pass interference rule they have now!

Zebster said...

G, great rant. You really should copy and paste as its own article