Posted on December 2, 2019
by Steve Janowick

Is this the progress you speak of, NFL?  Are these the conversations you said we should be having?

Well, way to go.  In your quest to swiftly right all the wrongs in the world and jump on board the shiny new social-justice train that’s barreling across the country, you’ve managed to suck the fun out of one of man’s greatest means of escapism.  You’ve turned this venerable contest of strategy and grit and guts into a platform. This wonderful Sunday tradition of family get-togethers and friendly wagers into a sounding board. This uniquely American pastime that is supposed to unite us all into a divisive and contentious soapbox. 

Way to go, NFL!

I get it.  I do. I know you’re just trying to convince those advertisers who line your pockets that you, too,  are fighting the good fight in 2019. Trying to convince them that you get it. You get the struggle, man!  You want them to know that you, like them, are the purveyors of truth and the arbiters of justice. You shine your big spotlight for all the little people to see.  You’re a voice for the voiceless. You’re a caring and righteous business entity. You’re a…

But it’s all BS!   A facade. An image conjured up in a conference room on Madison Avenue.  You’re a multi-billion dollar monopoly for God’s sake. The epitome of capitalist success and power.  And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that – if you man up and own it. Just don’t try to convince us that suddenly your heartstrings tug harder than your bottom-line strings, because we know they don’t.  We know this sudden shift to change your perception is just a play to save face with the fringes who control the narrative these days. The ones who scream the loudest and make life a public relations hell for institutions who don’t toe their lines.  But did you have to cave so hard and bend at the knee so fast? Did you have to forsake your core demographic so blatantly?  

Look, Joe Six Pack gets enough PC, agenda-driven propaganda jammed down his throat in one week to last him a lifetime.  And when he turns on the TV on Sunday afternoon, the very last thing he wants to feel is guilt or shame from more of it.  He’s not looking to be mocked and chastised come one o’clock. He’s not looking to be given a history lesson. He’s not looking to be talked down to or told he’s not a good guy.  That he’s not woke enough. What he wants is three hours of forgetting. To momentarily block out all the interference from the outside world and actually be entertained.  

Is that too much to ask, NFL?

I actually feel sorry for my young son.  He’s never experienced an NFL football season without race or gender or sexuality or inequality or injustice being some underlying message carefully weaved within it.  He’s never known what it’s like to watch a game and it just be a game! A game void of kneeling players, the latest arrests or the cause dujour. He doesn’t remember what it’s like to be able to fully immerse himself in the excitement and drama in front of him without some preachy trope or tabloid controversy hovering in his periphery.  

But I sure remember it.  And I miss it.  

Look, we can all agree that there are things out there that need fixing.  But Sunday afternoon on the gridiron is not the time and place for it. It’s okay to care – but you can be conscientious without being manipulative and overbearing.  So stay out of the nasty politics, NFL.  Stop perpetuating and adding fuel to the fire.  And stop trying to save the world at the expense of the consumers who consume your product.  We don’t want to have an existential conversation with you about the human condition or progress or anything…

We just want to watch a damn football game! 

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