by Chris Lowery, Contributing Writer
It really, really sucks to be a Saints fan right now. Despite the imbecilic inability of the New Orleans organization to effectively lock in Drew Brees for, I don’t know, eternity, the continued salt being dashed in the infected, festering Bounty Gate wound most recently came in the form of player suspensions to key defensive contributors for their role in the bounty scandals. Jonathan Vilma, Scott Fujita, Anthony Hargrove, and Will Smith were the recent victims of Roger Goodell’s mass exodus of all things dangerous in football.
The suspensions ranged from three games for Fujita to the entire season for Vilma, reeking of the same biologically underdeveloped attitude my canine typically displays when another pooch steals his favorite toy. See, it’s no secret that Mr. Goodell has categorically chosen his legacy as NFL Comish’ to be remembered as one that made football safer for the players. So – much in the same way my lab viciously distributes punishment to any who steal his favorite chewy – Goodell has doled out over-the-top, borderline totalitarian punishments to the coaches and players who dared tarnish his futuristic canonization as “Roger the Shelterer”.
And add to the mix six hundred something lawsuits from former players in regards to injuries they believe could have been prevented–had they been put through an anatomy class enlightening them on the dangers of repeatedly hitting other grown ass men–and you have the perfect recipe for “Don’t F’ With Players Safety Or You Will Be Sorry” soup.
The problem with this entire fustercluck of a situation is the lack of checks and balances in the NFL hierarchy. It appears as if Goodell can effectively wield his all-ruling power, curb stompin’ the heads of those poor souls who mistakenly cross his path, with no one there to amiably say “Don’t press down on that dudes dome”. There’s no one with even the slightest modicum of ballsiness’ around to tell Goodell “Come on Roger, a one-year suspension for Sean Payton, really?”
Missing is a voice of reason with the stones to declaratively denounce his continued public-firing-squad-execution of the entire Saints organization. No, we are left with an egotistical dictator who does whatever the hell he wants.
And how much has changed since this whole thing started?
Nothing! Nothing has changed!
Every single time a different Saint receives his public execution–an event Goodell illogically assumes will bring a changed cultural perception to football, equipped with flowers and a lemon scented beday– the court of public opinion further entrenches itself against the barbarism of the sport. There’s an enduring correlation between the continued media spotlight on BountyGate and the ever-evolving angst towards the entirety of football.
And with the extremely despondent passing of former NFL great Junior Seau – a guy who even the most ardent cynic would have a hard time rooting against–the crap has not only hit the fan, but is currently flying around the room and spraying every by-passer in the mouth.
The rumor-mill has shifted into fifth gear and the whispers echoing throughout the media are that Seau may have been suffering from a mental deterioration with his 20 year career as an NFL linebacker serving as the genesis. And the current cries from the mass public about the safety of football have never been louder and more emphatic than they are now.
Goodell and his “Yes Men” are currently taking refuge in their straw football-can-be-made-safe hut, in the hopes that this impending storm is little more than an afternoon shower. But this system has been brewing in the gulf for months and the delusional attempt to change the inherently violent culture of football, save eliminating the sport altogether, is the most absolute practice in futility.
Football is football. Violence in the game will not change nor should it. Hell, it’s why we watch! Modern-day gladiators embarking on this physically, mentally, and emotionally daunting quest for the Lombardi trophy is what keeps us coming back. And if my favorite team or athlete displays a little bloodthirstiness and encourages the guys around them, whose success is contingent upon their success, to be a little bloodthirsty as well, then I’m all for it!
The fallacy that violence has no place in football will lead to the demise of the sport itself. And, if the growing public sentiment continues to gain more traction, well, I guess women’s two-hand touch would be cool.