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Friday, Mar 1, 2024
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Why I will not support the NFL

I’m sure that by now, almost every person with access to the Internet or television has heard about the Ray Rice scandal. In recent days, even more players have been arrested on various abuse or domestic violence charges. However, in spite of these incidents, a recent poll conducted by NBC News shows that most Americans still stand by the NFL and that less than one-third think that the NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, should be fired.

Obviously, in the South, football is a really big deal. I grew up in south Georgia, and that means Friday night football followed by football all day on Saturday. If you’re a huge fan, you even watch NFL on Sunday. It occupies entire weekends and, for players, a good portion of their lives. I love football. It has become a large part of who I am, and I honestly couldn’t picture my life right now without it.

Football players are some of the sweetest boys you will ever meet. Many of them are charismatic and charming. It is for these reasons that we often excuse their less-than-positive behaviors. However, these recent incidents are unacceptable. Being talented in a sport in no way justifies wrongdoing - be it domestic violence, child abuse, or drug use. In the past few weeks, these have emerged as NFL scandals, and I do not see why people continue to stand by these men after all of this has come out.

Why is it that we support a league that punishes a player more severely for using marijuana than for beating his wife? Why is it that we support a league that will put harsher punishment on a player showing unsportsmanlike conduct than for sexually assaulting a minor? I’m so confused as to why we allow this league to continue to flourish.

I’m also confused as to why Roger Goodell is still in charge. He has proven several times since he took the commissioner position in 2006 that he is not fit for the job. He has demonstrated that he values making the league more profitable more than he values making the league more just. He has shown that he thinks football is more important than women’s rights, and even the rights of children.
As a woman, I feel uncomfortable supporting the NFL. As much as I love the game of football and the values that it can instill into a young man - teamwork, hard work, dedication, punctuality, etc. - I do not like what the NFL has come to represent: drug use, abuse and denial. I cannot support a league that has people such as Roger Goodell in power. While I will continue to enjoy the game of football and I will cheer on our Bears every Saturday, I will not watch another NFL match until some changes are made to the NFL. I cannot watch the NFL until Roger Goodell is out of power. I will not support the NFL until Janay Rice has justice.

Baltimore Ravens Training Camp August 20, 2009


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