National Football League – Evil Empire, Sports Entertainment Juggernaut

Many would argue that the NFL is now America’s new pastime.  While it is a complicated game (my mom still doesn’t understand the rules), it is a game full of excitment and intrigue.  Every Sunday, and now Mondays and Thursdays as well, fans to get to dive into their couches, their buffalo wings, their laptops, and their plasma televisions to catch all the action.

As I’ve written about in this forum before, there are millions and millions of fans of the NFL and not just individual teams.  Despite this, many view the league as an evil organization one that does not care about the players or the responsibilities of safety that come with such a violent sport.  And, I sort of agree.  There have been many instances in the last decade in which the NFL, and mainly Roger Goodell, have not done enough to stop the concussion epidemic.  Only once the media grabbed a hold of the problem and there were serious issues and brain studies did the NFL issue new protocols for concussion prevention and medical assistance in-gane.  Despite their delay, they now have developed programs and scientific study to determine everything from long term effects, to the best helmets, to psychology studies on the transition for retired players with serious medical problems.

Roger Goodel, the commissioner of the National Football League inplemented a player conduct policy that basically allows him to make decisions and be a dictator when it comes to player discipline.  Many of you have probably heard about the Saints bounty scandal.  Essentially a coach put hits on certain opposing players to get them hurt and rewarded players with cash that was outside their contracts.  The NFL suspended the coach and some of the players involved in the program without a proper appeals process and with one man, Goodell, essentially determining their fates.  It is complicated process now, as the players are continuing to take their appeals to court, but who says that the NFL can be a dictatorship when it is a player driven league?

The NFL is an interesting case study on ethics.  Despite the fact that they say the league is about the product on the field and the fan experience, they have completely acknowledged and supported the industry of fantasy football and (in some ways) sports gambling.  All is not evil though, as they have also developed programs like Play 60, a program aimed at encouraging kids to be active for 60 minutes a day in order to reverse childhood obesity.  They have also developed programs to teach young children playing the game how to tackle properly, one of the most important teaching points in all of youth sports.

Overall, the NFL has grown tenfold in the last two decades and has now become THE sport in the America.  It will be interesting to see how seriously they continute to take the concussion epidemic and if their efforts will be seen in the way of larger health benefits and player pensions for retired players with seriuos medical needs.  The average age of death of an NFL player who has played one play is under 60.  That number needs to go up and things like Junior Seau’s suicide need to prevented in order for the league to continue on top and for the sprot of football to continue growing.



3 thoughts on “National Football League – Evil Empire, Sports Entertainment Juggernaut

  1. I like that you brought up the safety of players, which is a huge concern. I would like to see what happens to players after they leave the NFL in an economic sense. While some get sweet deals with the NFL, ESPN, or a major broadcasting company, I feel like a lot of them fall by the wayside, with no other skills to take them anywhere. A lot of these players feel like they will be on top forever, and never really think about their careers post-NFL. Looking further into it, 78% of players go broke after they leave the NFL.

    A couple resources for your paper:

    This article talks about Warren Sapp’s recent bankruptcy. Frivolous spending, including a $6,000 shoe collection and a $1,500 lion-skin rug (thats awesome) was only one part to his downfall:

    This talks about the 78% of NFL players who go bankrupt:

  2. Roger, thanks for your help with the resources. The financial and psychological transition of these athletes is going to a focal point of my paper if I do choose to write about the NFL. The problem with these men is that for how ever many years they have been the center of the show – inspirsing men, being modern day gladiators and competeting with a plethora of things on the line. Once they are retired they do not have that opportunity anymore and many struggle with it. Despite the fact that he has become very unpopular in America, one could understand what made Brett Favre return so many times to the sport he loves.

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