What’s So Bad About The NFL?
Almost everything is the answer.
From the people who fund it, to their shady business practices, to their historically pathetic responses to racial injustice and women’s rights, to their treatment of the massive 300lb humans they pump full of drugs so they forget about their broken bones and concussions… so they can get back out on the field and continue making them money. The NFL’s overarching harmful societal influence bleeds far and wide. But I’ll try to break it down as concisely as possible.
The NFL is Corrupt and Intentionally Duplicitous
A lot of information is flying around these days so I want to set the record straight with some facts about just how corrupt the NFL really is. I used legitimate sources, including files and reports from an investigation done by Congress itself, like this one.
The NFL actively tried to deny and cover up any scientific links between football and traumatic brain injuries, particularly CTE, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy 1, 2
Basically, when scientists started publishing their discoveries about a link between playing football and traumatic brain injuries that resulted in an array of horrible symptoms including early death, the NFL tried just about everything in their power to make everyone believe that it wasn’t true, including: restricting funding to research projects for CTE, creating their own erroneous “studies” that stated that there was no correlation between brain injuries and football, omitting key facts and studies, and using a slew of other scare tactics and threats targeted at scientists and companies (including ESPN) that spoke out against the NFL, in an attempt to damage their credibility.
I really don’t need to connect the dots here but I will so no one gets lost: The NFL tried to cover up the evidence of the link between football and horrendous brain trauma because of their own personal agenda of (likely) greed. In 1994, many key football players started going into early retirement because of scares prompted by information related to concussions and head injuries sustained from playing football. This was undesirable for the NFL for a number of reasons. So they did what any corrupt industry would do: lie, cover it up, and deny – so players would keep playing despite their horrendous head injuries and so the general public would keep supporting them. The NFL’s priority is not honesty, science, or the well-being of humans – it’s clearly something else (status/money/greed). And this is nothing new. This tactic is unfortunately highly effective and has been (and continues to be) used by the tobacco industry (“Cigarettes are harmless! Just go check out all of these “scientific studies” we’ve made up! Also anyone who doesn’t believe us is a quack!”), the meat and dairy industries (factory farming), and big Pharma.
The NFL & Tobacco
Here is a really in-depth report by The New York Times that is definitely worth reading. It discusses a chronology of sorts surrounding the NFL CTE scandal and some other really important associations between the NFL and the tobacco industry. But the gist is: The tobacco industry is to the NFL, as Trump is to his growing list of appointed staff (some of which are now in jail). They work together in any capacity they can, share advisors, members, and lawyers, and probably discuss and share shady business practices. Also, the NFL sent a threatening letter to the NYT trying to force them to remove the article through legal scare tactics. The New York Times kept the article up and stood firm in their assertions.
The Maltreatment of the Players
The NFL is like a mob boss who is looking to pimp out anyone and anything.
They entice young exceptional athletes with appeal of status to join the NFL (because society tells us that the ultimate success in life is fortune and fame). Then, when the players, inevitably sustain head injuries and broken bones that would normally render them unable to continue playing, they pump the young athletes full of prescription drugs to stay “competitive” and remain in the game. Then, once the players are no longer of value to the league, the NFL sends them off to cope with their degenerative brain diseases, (many already poverty-stricken and suicidal). And if said players band together to bring a lawsuit against the NFL? They lie, deflect, and postpone the trial and or associated payments owed to players who won their cases… generally until after they have passed away.  As completely heinous and unbelievable as that sounds, it is the uncomfortable truth. You can read about this entire process in depth here but that is the summary of facts that have been corroborated by numerous studies, lawsuits, and players themselves. The simple fact is that the lives of football players are seriously diminished after their stint as an NFL player is over, many with associated drug addiction problems, most with CTE, and many without the ability or resources to self-sustain.
The Punishment of Kaepernick & The Deliberate Disregard of Racial Injustice
At this point everyone is aware of Colin Kaepernick and his bold stance for justice and equality by taking a knee during the National Anthem.
This is an entirely different topic so I will keep this short but after he started taking a knee in 2016, (and after many associated and troubling ramifications by the NFL) Kaepernick hasn’t be signed since he became a free agent in 2017. Last year Kaepernick (and Eric Reid) filed a grievance against the NFL, charging that the owners conspired to shut him out due to the protests.  After many players joined in on Kaepernick’s protest, taking a knee during the anthem, the NFL owners decided last May that any players who didn’t stand for the anthem would be fined…Unless of course they wanted to protest by staying in locker rooms during the anthem, away from public eye… which defeats the purpose. After, the players filed a grievance against the NFL for infringing upon their rights, the commissioner, a particularly unlikeable character named Roger Goodell, relayed that the NFL would hold the policy until further notice.
Again, to connect the dots – The NFL tried to silence and punish players both through covert tactics (not signing free agents that otherwise were still valuable football players) and by issuing a policy that tried to encroach upon their rights.
The NFL’s Tolerance of Violence Towards Women, Treatment of Women in General, and Lack of Gender Equality
The NFL has been particularly pathetic with their regard and treatment of reports regarding gendered violence against players, concerns and efforts to prevent and address domestic violence, and criticisms about “mismanagement” of funds regarding donations towards breast cancer awareness. This is all in addition to, problems with sexual harassment and (here’s the biggie) discriminatory treatment of the cheerleaders based on gender. At this point, none of us should be surprised. Unfortunately, this story is all too familiar given that we are living within the bounds of a patriarchal society. However here are some things you should know:
- The NFL has had a long history of treating it’s cheerleaders like garbage. From objectification and hyper sexualization, to extensive/overbearing rules that reach into their personal and social lives (including social media), pay that is hardly above minimum wage, and oppressive conditions like regular weigh-ins and “jiggle-tests.”
- The Saint’s Cheerleader handbook states, “if a Saints cheerleader enters a restaurant and a player is already there, she must leave. If a cheerleader is in a restaurant and a player arrives afterward, she must leave.”
- The New York Times reviewed cheerleader handbooks, some of which included rules that forbid the use of sweatpants in public and any social interaction that was “above and beyond cordial, polite, professional interaction” with or dating of the NFL players including texting and social media. Not shockingly, there are no such rules for the NFL football players themselves.
In short? The NFL is about as trustworthy, righteous, and morally driven as Voldemort… or Trump and his band of serpent cronies.