In an attempt to salvage at least some of my readers, this is a disclaimer that there will be strong opinions and somewhat offensive language used in this article. I mean, we are talking about the NFL here. So anyway, on with your regularly scheduled programming.
There is a special place in hell for Roger Goodell and anyone else within the NFL front office that makes decisions and helps run, without a doubt, one of the most putrid organizations in the entire world. Seriously, if any other organization in the world even tried half of the shit the NFL pulls, they’d be shut down by a government or there would be military intervention.
Now, what’s got me so upset about the NFL this time? Well, besides the company’s overall lack of ability to even act like decent human beings would, cancer has me upset. Cancer is a total bitch, and I’d like to imagine that not a single soul in this world even appreciates a single bit about it.
So when the NFL does their annual October ‘tradition’, if you will, of letting players wear pink cleats and pink gloves and putting pink ribbons on their fields and having the neat little slogan, “A crucial catch”, it seems all fine and dandy. And having cancer survivors come out onto the field before the game to be recognized by the crowd and aid with opening ceremonies just puts it over the top. Like, good for you NFL, you really get it, don’t you? You’re full of great people who really care about the things that matter.
If you think that, you’re either too young to think for yourself, a hopeless romantic who pretends there isn’t any evil in this world, or someone who’s been so totally brainwashed by the NFL that you blindly accept whatever is thrown at you. The NFL is counting on you being part of the third party, and unfortunately too many of us are.
In reality, the NFL only sort of gives half a rat’s ass about cancer and cancer survivors. What they really care about is trying to uphold their already sketchy, at best, image. And the only thing they care about more than that is money. To me, as a human being, it’s embarrassing and angering. But it’s just the way it is.
Now, what’s got me particularly mad on this occasion is the NFL’s blatant shallowness and lunacy with regards to their recent rulings about DeAngelo Williams and Casey Heyward.
First, Williams. DeAngelo Williams’ mother recently passed away due to the NFL’s favorite money making disease, breast cancer. Without really needing to delve into personal details, Williams’ mother meant a hell of a lot to him, as one would expect, and he was deeply hurt by her loss. So, to honor her, Williams dyed the tips of his dreadlocked hair pink, and wanted to wear pink cleats, not just in the NFL’s standard of October, but all season.
So, in keeping true with their tradition of childish and senseless behavior, the NFL denied Williams that opportunity. DeAngelo Williams will not be allowed to wear pink cleats to honor his mother, who died from the very disease that the NFL ‘supports’ so strongly and profits off of. And it’s just a pair of freaking cleats.
The NFL has a uniform deal with Nike, and requires that all players’ cleats visibly have the Nike symbol on them. Williams would not be breaking that rule in the interest of himself, but since the NFL wants to be as much of an asshole as it can be, they are denying Williams the opportunity to simply, and quietly, honor his fallen mother.
Last weekend on Sunday Night Football, the always sharp announcing team of Al Michaels and Chris Collinsworth pointed out Pittsburgh Steelers’ defensive end Cameron Heyward’s unique eye black that night. On one strip of Heyward’s eye black read the world Iron, and on the other strip read the word Head. As Michaels pointed out, this was Heyward’s quiet tribute to his late father, Craig ‘Ironhead’ Heyward.
Later on in the week, as I expected, the NFL stepped in. Heyward announced, via Twitter, that he had been fined for his eye black tribute and that the NFL would not allow him to do it anymore. Again, really? Eye black? In all seriousness, has anything bad ever transpired because of eye black?
Are these two instances small? Absolutely, but it’s part of a much bigger problem that eternally damns the NFL in my mind. So what’s the big issue here?
During the aforementioned Sunday night game – which both Williams and Heyward happened to be playing in, mind you – a commercial came on. It was one of the NFL’s stupid, ‘Football is Family’ commercials where they try to pretend that they actually care about what football means to their fans. And who was in this particular commercial, talking about the impact that football has had upon his life? DeAngelo freaking Williams.
That’s right, the NFL denied Williams the opportunity to wear pink cleats to quietly honor his mother and raise awareness, yet still had the gall and insensitivity to put him in an NFL produced commercial about the NFL’s impact upon the lives of those it touches. DeAngelo Williams cares about his dear mother, and the NFL is carelessly profiting off of that by having him in a heartfelt commercial, yet won’t let him ACTUALLY honor her by wearing pink cleats to raise awareness for the disease that took her life. That is absolutely damning, and as a man I’m insulted and hurt that a fellow human being could be so heartless and cold.
All you have to do is have even just a little bit of human decency. We are all wired to care about our fellow man, every single one of us. So when a group of people in incredibly high power chooses to care more about a rulebook and a checkbook more than a man – a hurting man, and an employee too – it makes me angry. Damn right it makes me angry.
NFL, we know you don’t really care. We know the only things you care about are your public image – which is already in total shambles because of your complete and total incompetence and inability to have even a little bit of human decency – and your checkbook, already flush with billions of dollars of cash. But can you at least pretend to care?
Can you at least pretend to have the human civility to let two of your employees quietly and humbly honor their fallen loved ones and raise awareness for the disease that you profit from? The only thing you keep hurting is yourself. All of the heat from this keeps falling squarely on you. And speaking of heat, there’s a special brand of heat where you’re all headed.
Thanks for reading…