I must admit that football is really the only sport that I follow. I must also admit that I rather look forward to NFL opening day and watching very large children violently throw themselves around a field and smash into each other for millions of dollars. But now instead of Sunday headline games, I am treated to daily headlines detailing the bad behavior of NFL players – and everyone dancing around trying to act outraged.
It is difficult to navigate the issues laid out before us, but a few things strike me:
1) As much as I might like watching football, the whole enterprise of professional sports is not a particularly positive or Godly aspect of society – even IF the good folks in the NFL would like to convince us otherwise. Neither does it contribute to our lives as Christians. Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with enjoying a game! But it seems obvious to me that a pickup game at the neighborhood park would do us a lot better than couch sitting with a beer in hand.
2) As much as I enjoy watching football as my body wastes away, what is worse is what it does to its players. Or at least that is what am gathering. We hype them up, glamorize them, put them on pedestals, give them gobs of money to throw around, and then eventually abandon a third of them to early dementia. Some of them do well enough, though I can’t image what kind of person I would end up being after an NFL career. It wouldn’t be pretty.
3) So if we train up our players to be tough guy, kick ass, gladiator types on the field whose only purpose is to take out the opposing team, why are we surprised when they are gladiator types in real life? Why does it shock us when a player disciplines his son with a stick or knocks his girl out with an easy throw of his fist?
4) It truly is terrible anyone is injured in any way at the hand of someone else. But do we really have to be force fed every indiscretion of these sorry fellows? Does the NFL actually care about what its players do? Is there true repentance anywhere? Or is this all just a publicity stunt? These atrocities happen every day thousands of times – in our own families and communities… Why is it particularly outrageous that THESE particular individuals do it? There is something really messed up here. If a professional sports player commits some crime or indiscretion in his life, he should get his just reward – whatever it might be. But let it be noted on page two of the sports section and lets get on with…. football?
Get on with football? Well… MAYBE… But I am feeling that it just isn’t going to be the same anymore… All our dreams about what sports were… they just really were dreams. Nothing more.