For those who are already disinterested or dislike the NFL, it’s easy to see all the recent events as yet another reason to turn off the NFL. But what do real NFL fans do with what’s happening these days?
Confession: I like(d) Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson. “Mighty Mouse” and “All Day” have been great athletes to watch play football. Further, up until now, their off-the-field personalities have been likable. Yeah, Rice has always been cocky but it’s “little-guy in the NFL syndrome” and it works. And though AP preaches a different type of Christian faith than I do, I did appreciate that he trusted Jesus and desired to share his hope with others (Did you see him “preach” at the ESPY’s last year?).
So when news broke out that Rice knocked out his then-fiancé and the images of him dragging out Janay, I was very saddened. Like many, I balked at the two-game suspension Roger Goodell gave and when the video in the elevator was released, wow! I along with everyone could not believe what I saw (I don’t doubt he lives in deep regret of that moment too). Then when the news of Adrian Peterson broke of him beating his four year old in the manner he admits to, my stomach turned again. The pictures and the report are enough, though however unlikely, I hope no video ever emerges of the look of Peterson’s face as he did what he did to his young son.
These high-profile incidents and many others are making us all wonder what is going on, how much is enough and what can actually be done? What does it mean to keep watching/following/cheering? What does it mean to stop? How does this correlate to every other scandal in the entertainment industry, the political sector, the church world, and all the missteps that my friends and family members make in my own private world? There’s the big picture view of society, the closer ones, and the one in the mirror – what about him/her? And for those of us Christians, how does our faith inform this?
The point is often made that sports is a microcosm for life and I resonate with some of that. I find it to be partially true and I also find it to serve as a loose justification for all the time and attention given to it. Among my favorite parts of professional sports is there is supposed to be an innocence to be enjoyed. The games we played as children, the hail-mary catches, the bottom of the ninth home run and the buzzer beater is all part of the “thrill of the game” – any game. And so when baseball was tainted by the steroid-era, the NBA soured by Jordan’s retirement, and the NFL being sacked by concussion cover-ups and the constant cycle of out of control behavior, much of the innocence is lost and the games/athleticism/narrative of sport is harder to appreciate.
First, my love for the NFL: I have a bit riding on this. I’ve been a fan for a while. I’m also in three fantasy football leagues. (Three?? I have [Read more...]