The NFL doesn’t stick to sports

The Super Bowl is not a national holiday, but it’s treated like one. It’s the day that turns old men buying 24-packs of IPA at Haggen from strangers to friends. A day rivaled only by Thanksgiving in caloric intake. The day that brings families together over a common love of hating the Patriots.

(By the way, the owner of the Patriots, Robert Kraft, is an old buddy of Trump’s and donated $1 million to his campaign in 2016, if you needed a reason to hate the team other than Tom Brady’s smarmy face. Here’s a fun list of all the other teams whose owners donated to Trump’s campaign: the Buccaneers, Titans, Redskins, Cowboys, Texans, Jaguars, Rams and Jets.)

The Super Bowl has come to define the United States in many ways: blind patriotism, unapologetic consumerism, toxic masculinity. And behind it all, of course, is the National Football League. A league helmed by millionaires, donating money right and left to political causes while desperately attempting to keep politics out of the game. The NFL deserves little respect, if any.

For starters, they’ve buried tons of injury data. But people already know football is dangerous and what they’re getting into, so where’s the harm in that? It’s just an industry standard at this point.

They have a history of imposing extremely light sanctions on players who commit domestic violence. Off the field, off the mind, I guess. In 2014, footage of Ray Rice, running back for the Ravens was leaked by TMZ. It showed him dragging his unconscious fiance out of an elevator. He was suspended for two games. Then, when another video of the same abuse leaked, he was suspended indefinitely. In December linebacker Reuben Foster was released from the 49ers because of his domestic violence charge and 48 hours later the Redskins claimed him. Harm, but no foul.

In 2016, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem to protest the oppression of people of color in this country, which garnered him both criticism and acclaim. The orange man in the White House condemned his lack of respect for the flag, but athletes across the country followed his lead. Kaepernick became a free agent after that season but no team has signed him since. He’s now in a lawsuit with the NFL, alleging they colluded to end his career after his protests.

The grand old NFL. They’ll conveniently look past domestic violence, but they will mandate that players must stand during the national anthem, however short-lived that mandate may be.

It makes a certain amount of sense. How many football fans want to think about politics when the game is on?

The fat cats calling the shots for the league knows what they’re doing. Keep the fans happy and they’ll continue to pay thousands of dollars to support the team, as long as reality stays removed and the beer stays cold.

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