Today’s Title Is… Fixing the National Football League

Today’s Title Is… Fixing the National Football League

The National Football League needs some “fixing”. There have been way too many controversies, the tv ratings are down, and, quite honestly, the attitudes relating to, and the image of the league, could stand improvement.

To be clear, I’ve never been an NFL player, coach, owner, etc. For that matter, I never played in high school- one of my biggest regrets ever. I’m writing strictly as a fan.

In no particular order, here are fixes, some easy and others not so much, that would address problems as I see them.

The owners need to be quiet. They’re all perceived as billionaires that only care about money anyway, and should stay behind the scenes, especially when embroiled in their sport’s controversies and societal problems.

Think about supply and demand. It just may be that the supply of games on so many days and nights exceeds the demand from fans. Thursday games were added a while ago, and Thanksgiving games seem to have multiplied, not to mention the Saturday games that start earlier than they used to. Encourage people to look forward to football again by limiting games to Sunday and Monday.

Get serious about standards, discipline, and professionalism. First, football is a violent game regardless, and probably appears worse by the multiple camera angles and replays, but certain on and off the field behaviors have changed the image of the league for many. On the field, address the more violent actions, such as fights and plays where the body is used as a weapon, such as helmet to helmet hits. I truly believe that suspensions and substantial fines will work. For example, among the numerous incidents that have recently occurred, there was a fist fight early in a particular game in which two players began throwing punches with the action extending well beyond the sidelines. Suspending each of those players three games, including the loss of game checks, would certainly act to deter them from further incidents and other players as well. The same can be said of a player who launched himself into the body of another player who was on the ground after the play was over. A one game suspension was viewed by quite a few in the media as a needed “week off” for the offending player. A suspension for multiple games would be viewed quite differently, especially if accompanied by the loss of game checks. Second, although it may seem minor, enforce rules regarding media obligations, also, because it appears to fans that players are babied. Third, as to serious off the field issues, such as drug use, domestic violence, etc. fair solutions aren’t easy to come by because there is a legal process, in addition to the role played by the NFL.  If, however, the league decides to take action, the consequences must be substantial. “Small” fines, such as $10,000-$12,000, for players who often make millions of dollars do not act as a deterrent. Likewise, players who receive multiple chances or whose punishment is delayed again and again severely hurt the image of the league. Bluntly speaking, the NFL must reinforce the notion that it is a league of PROFESSIONAL athletes.

I’m probably in the minority when it comes to missing the days when celebrations didn’t occur after every play. I know about the whole “let them have fun” thing. Quite honestly, I’m sick of players not just celebrating with a touchdown dance, but having a choreographed routine with several teammates. This sets a bad example for younger players and suggests a complete lack of sportsmanship and humility from athletes who are perceived as spoiled anyway. By the way, what’s next for celebrations?

The topic that’s getting the most attention this season concerning the National Football League is protesting racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem. There are strong feelings on all sides of this issue, but there is little doubt that it has had a negative effect on the league, with many viewing players as rich, spoiled young men who are showing disrespect for America, the flag, and our military. I don’t believe that was the original intent, nor do I believe it’s the intent now, but this action is still hurting the image of the league, and the message about racial injustice is becoming lost. I also think that the recent agreement involving the league giving tens of millions of dollars to address this issue is viewed as just another case of billionaires using money as a solution and the fact that the players agreed to this is also damaging. Money doesn’t solve every problem.

**This is my own “pet peeve”. Please. I’m begging you, as well as the owners of teams in other professional sports. Stop “forcing/intimidating/bullying” cities into building new stadiums at taxpayer expense. The tax paying citizens in these cities often can’t afford to go to the games in the first place and there’s immense frustration when billionaires force situations where those with little money pay higher taxes so those same billionaires can avoid paying for stadiums and make even more money. I realize that “forcing”, etc. isn’t a fair term to describe the actions of owners, but it’s pretty close.

Finally, emphasize the good things the NFL participates in even more than they do now, such as charitable giving and players involved in worthwhile causes. Good news rarely gets the attention or recognition that it deserves.









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