Not too long ago, after the most famous 7th round draft pick cutting in history, I wrote an article Michael Sam, Tim Tebow, and the NFL’s brutal honesty. In summary, still go read the article, but in summary, if the NFL cuts you it’s because they don’t think you can play. Does not matter how famous or even how much of a local football legend you are, the NFL is about winning. However, in the wake of the Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice scandals, I feel the need to expound further. I use Sport’s Illustrated covers to highlight the fame of the man that is AP. However, the NFL is about winning, because winning equals money and the NFL is all about the money.
If you are not familiar with the scandal, here is the mediocre summary. Adrian Peterson whipped his 4 year old son with a switch. Now if you hear that in isolation and you are like me, you think, Ok so what. You see my grandmother, Oease was her name, Maw is what we called used to pull out the switch at the drop of a hat. Sometimes she even made us go pick one. But Maw was a sweet old lady.
Adrian Peterson as it turns out, is a world class athlete. So when Maw would hit me with a switch, there was a slight sting, no welts or even raised skin, discipline issue over. Now let me be clear I am not trying to get into the corporal punishment debate. I’m just stating facts.
Adrian Peterson whipped his 4 year old son to the point that it drew open wounds. He did it over and over enough to do it several times. In fact, the pictures of the wounds circulating on the internet were actually well after the fact when the boy flew home to his mother. Regardless of what you think about spanking or switches, what Adrian Peterson did was by far excessive. A 4 year old is aware enough to know what is happening to him and who is doing it. Intentionally or not and he may have regretted it, Adrian Peterson went too far. Most agree.
Now this one, I have little more trouble connecting with. I mean Maw may have whooped my butt with a switch from time to time, but never did I punch Maw in the face. Never have I punched my wife in the face. Never have I punched a girlfriend in the face. Never have a I hit any woman for that matter.
Ray Rice, world class athlete, punched his then fiancée in the face to the point it knocked her out. This man, had to drag his fiancée out of an elevator. Look, I know married couples have problems sometimes. I also know that people do things they regret. A couple’s problems are typically not the world’s business. But in the age of the internet and the 24 hour news cycle, bottom line Ray Rice, everyone saw you punch your future wife in the face and knock her out, drag her out of an elevator, and then expect the world not to care.
The Common Theme
Look, I think the NFL is a decent organization run by humans who are probably average good people. But here is the problem both Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice have. Namely, they are threatening the NFL’s money and the NFL is in the money business.
Yes, yes, I know that football is a sport played since our youth, but no one ever paid me millions of dollars to play football. And if someone did pay me millions of dollars to play football, it must only be because some is making billions by paying me millions. The NFL is a business ladies and gentlemen.
The NFL does a fairly good job of covering that up under the guise of sport, but someone go tell Jerry Jones that he can no longer make money off the Cowboys and see how quick Tony Romo is flipping burgers. That’s the problem. You see, the average NFL fan likes kids and they like women. So when you go hitting them, we have a problem.
Sponsors start to pull out, fans start to react, and the media takes hold. Then, you might as well have slapped Al Pacino’s scarface right across the mouth. You my friend, are in trouble. It doesn’t even matter if the media or others have unfairly convicted you, you started threatening the money, then you gotta go.
So I know that fans have reacted with a variety of frustrations, but the NFL has been and always will be about the money. Honestly, it’s only a real news story because these two players happen to be really good players. Let a practice squad goon pull these actions and see how quick and quietly they are out of the NFL. So my whole point is this, John Mclain is right. Its ALWAYS, about the money.
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