On 31 July 2016, a tweet alerted me to the idea that the National Football League was pondering whether to allow the Dallas Cowboys to wear a patch commemorating five Dallas law enforcement officers who were murdered by a deranged individual on 7 July 2016 on their uniforms for the ensuing season. I do not know what the league's decision will be, and at this writing they may already have made it. That is not the point of this piece. The point is, the NFL should not have had to consider allowing this at all. It should have been an automatic approval. And I am done.
Many times over the past few years of Roger Goodell's tenure as the NFL commissioner I have seriously considered giving up watching professional football as a matter of principle. As a lifelong fan, this is no small thing. The decision always came back to my love of the game. I am also a Denver Broncos fan, and have been since I first starting watching NFL games back in the 1970s. If you are at all familiar with pro ball, you're no doubt aware that there are no more devoted fans than Broncos fans.
A range of issues have troubled me, some greatly, and some which are more minor annoyances.
A brief and in no way exhaustive or complete list of grievances:
As I said, some of these things are relatively minor irritations. But even with those, I watch football because I enjoy watching football. Mr. Goodell's tenure has seen many rules changes which make the game less enjoyable as well.
But wavering on allowing a team which shares a hometown with five murdered police officers to wear a uniform accessory just proves once again that the National Football League has too little respect for the law and for common decency, and prefers to accommodate thugs and degenerates in the interest of keeping the vast amounts of money coming in. I am a proponent of capitalism, as any conservative should rightly be. So I understand why the league wishes to protect its investment in these outstanding athletes by protecting them from the consequences we mere mortals would face in similar circumstances. Sadly, I can no longer be party to this degeneracy.
Finally, let me point out that this missive is not directed against professional football players or team staffs as a group of people. The vast majority of NFL players and staffs are by all accounts good people. They are involved in their communities, they put forth extra effort, time, and other resources to give back to the country and sport which afforded them their fame and wealth. They are gifted and are capitalizing from their natural gifts. To my mind, this is absolutely what America is and should be about. I've made this decision because the National Football League itself puts business and profit before all else. And with the wealth and power it controls, the league decides time and again it cares more about retaining and increasing its stranglehold on the country. Panem et circenses. No more.
And don't get me started on the stupidity that is the case of mediocre talent (and openly gay player) Michael Sam. Please.
I'll miss professional football. I truly will. But a man's got to sleep.
P.S. I owe a special debt of gratitude to @marcannem96 for his advice and assistance editing this article. If you use Twitter (and of course you do), you should follow him. You rock, Marc.
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