If a big food corporation sells a contaminated product that makes people sick, they’re forced to remove the food from the shelves. If people actually died? Well, that could be criminal … or at least a top story in the news.
Same with pharmaceuticals. Car companies. Toy manufacturers. Anyone, really, who runs afoul of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the FDA, or even just riles up the local consumer action reporter at the evening news, has a lot of explaining to do if their product is dangerous.
So here’s what I don’t get.
How can the National Football League (NFL) endanger its players – knowingly – and still be not only the most popular sport in the country, but also the most profitable?
I loved football. Growing up, I was diehard for the 49ers. Oakland Raiders, too, but mostly ’9ers. I still have my Ronnie Lott bobblehead. My husband is from Colorado and a Broncos fan. Occasionally, I will say “55 to 10”. That’s all. Just “55 to 10.” He knows what I mean. (Click here if you don’t.)
But, in recent years I’ve become increasingly disturbed by the growing violence of the game. The collisions seem uglier than usual. The game is becoming more about the train wreck, head-on-head, smash-ups. (And, this was even before the news broke this year about the New Orleans Saints’ “bounty hunting” – where players received financial bonuses based on the severity of the injuries they inflicted on opponents. The more serious the injury, the bigger the payoff.)
I started to lose interest in football, initially, because I was falling for baseball, and something had to give. Baseball seemed so much more athletically graceful. So much more strategically interesting. So much less ugly and brutal. So much more fun.
Oh sure, I thought football and I could still be friends. Even though I was in love with another game.
But, I finally had to break up with football.