Thursday, September 11, 2014

Why I Will Boycott NFL Thursday Night Football

Within hours on Wednesday afternoon, news came out that the elevator footage of Ray Rice punching his fiancé had been sent to NFL offices and that Atlanta Falcons LB John Abraham had played 16 games in 2013 despite suffering from memory loss due to concussions.

john abraham hurt
Both of these revelations are horrifying. It's why I will not watch NFL's Thursday Night Football package. At some point, we have to let the NFL know that, as fans, we're not going to take this anymore.

Since the Ray Rice footage was first released – the footage that captured Rice dragging his unconscious fiancĂ© from a casino elevator – the NFL and Roger Goodell have messed up in every way possible. The Ravens live tweeted Janay Rice apologizing for getting punched. Ray Rice used inexplicable metaphors. Goodell handed out a mere two game suspension.

This week, with the TMZ release of the entire incident, everything has been taken to another level and still, the NFL continues to screw up. The Ravens and the NFL finally take action, but far too late to matter. Roger Goodell has the gall to tell the nation his league couldn't possibly get their hands on a tape that we all saw and knew existed. Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti inexplicably admitted that he “wanted to believe” the Ray Rice used an open-hand during the incident, which is acceptable how?

At the same time, the NFL's concussion epidemic shows absolutely no sign of subsiding, as evident by Wednesday's news about Abraham. As a Jets fan, Abraham was one of my favorite players a decade ago. Now, I fear his fate has been sealed.

Ever since reading League of Denial in March, I have been conflicted with my love of the NFL. While the college game through its targeting rule has made significant efforts to literally change how the sport is played, Roger Goodell has paid nothing more than lip service.

The news about Abraham follows a scarily similar pattern to what was revealed in League of Denial, particularly the part where Abraham received a DUI over the summer when he passed out at the wheel. How this man could play an entire NFL season with memory loss is beyond comprehension.

In League of Denial, the stories of post-concussion syndrome end the same way – the player killing themselves. I will say a prayer for John Abraham that he does not suffer the same.

Earlier this week, Katie Nolan made waves by calling for greater representation of female in the sports media while saying that she loves football too much to give it up. While her motives were strong, her execution was worse than poor. The amount of love it received made you think she had taken a giant leap for woman’s rights. Instead, she was saying, "I will continue to do exactly the same thing, but I expect change."

This is a problem. Change does not come from doing nothing. Change comes from showing people that you're upset and you're willing to walk away.

If I said we should boycott the NFL completely, you'd laugh. And that wouldn't hurt anyone except the players and rank and file workers, not the billionaire owners.

roger goodell asshole
So here's my solution: I will boycott the NFL Thursday Night Football package. It is the epitome of what is wrong with the NFL. It is a pure, unadulterated money grab without the slightest regard for the player's health. It is not healthy or safe or advisable to play two NFL football games in five days. It's absurd.

There is so much talk constantly on social media and in the traditional media about the ills of the NFL, yet ratings remain high because we don't change our habits. We simply shrug our shoulders and sigh, chalking it up to our love of the sport (and gambling).

Well, the NFL is putting its players at risk on Thursday nights to make more money. I don't like that. I don't like how Roger Goodell and the NFL have turned a blind eye to domestic violence for years, while cracking down on pot smokers and uniform offenders. Enough is enough at some point, right?

Maybe if we stop watching one night a week, they will get the message. There are plenty of other things to watch on Thursday, including college football.

We can escape the pull of football for one night a week. I will miss my Jets play the Patriots. I will miss fantasy football action. I will survive.

Will John Abraham? Did Junior Seau?

Giving up one night of football seems like a fair trade-off to keep my favorite players alive and healthy, as well as the league's significant others.

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15 comments:

  1. Powerful stuff man. I completely missed the news on Abraham, that is really messed up. Damn.

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  2. Oh shutup, you'll keep watching

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    1. I will on Sunday & Monday. Not on Thursday.

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    2. So if you play fantasy do you sit those guys playing Thursday?

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    3. I do not. Matt Ryan is my QB so I played him...just didnt watch.

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    4. Not really much of a stand then is it? A real stand is quitting fantasy football and stop watching all together, one guy in my league did.

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    5. I did, Thursday night is about money and not health. But you played you QB because of money.
      That to me isn't taking a stand that is pretending to take a stand. A real stand is saying until the league stops playing Thursdays without a bye prior I am done.

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    6. That's exactly why I'm not watching on Thursdays. If CBS doesnt get ratings, the games go away.

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  3. "It is not healthy or safe or advisable to play two NFL football games in five days."

    Only problem with that is the anti-TNF crowd seems to be OK with Thanksgiving, which, unless FDR's still secretly alive somewhere, is on a Thursday. You could counter that with byes for each team, but you're still opening up other inequities.

    And where the hell was the angry mob prior to 2012? Hell Thursday night games have been played since the late 70s but I guess it's only an issue now since every team has one (every team has a short week). Cash grab? Yes, and did you happen to know the cap is going up as well thanks to this "cash grab"? I thought everyone hated the salary cap.

    Here's a hint, learn to organize your "anger". Write it on your hand, tattoo it on your ass, whatever so you don't forget it and then come back and completely contradict yourself five minutes later. It's like everyone being upset with Goodell for being too harsh when he came in and now he's too soft. Make up your mind!

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    1. It's really simple to keep the Thanksgiving games...give those teams a bye the week before. They do that frequently in college for the teams that play on Thursday night.

      The angry mob was mobilized after we realized the NFL had been lying to us for 20 years about concussions.

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    2. So let me get this straight, Jack Tatum effectively ends Darryl Stingley's life (in a nationally televised preseason game no less) and we need a board to tell us that you might get hurt playing football?

      And isn't one of the angry mob's complaints that the league is getting watered down with all sorts of new safety rules? What did I say about staying consistent?

      Hell, why don't you just leave the NFL entirely and go support some junk like the Arena League (which nobody watches anyway) in protest? Put up where your mouth's up

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    3. says anonymous LOL

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  4. Thanks. I made the same choice. My decision is based more about the NFL's slow response to these latest events. Until I see some kind of believable reform I won't be watching. I also think TNF is stupid for the other reasons you mentioned.

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    1. Thanks for the comment. Usually people only comment to tell me I'm stupid. Appreciate it.

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