By Sam Balas
Football is emotional.
It requires an incredible amount of physical and mental strength to play contact sports. The game is a testament to athletic prowess and mental fortitude.
National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell does not seem to understand what it feels like to play football. His attempt to regulate on-field emotion is unreasonable and illogical.
His incompetent regime has done everything to turn the National Football League into the “No Fun League.”
Goodell’s administration has cracked down on acts of celebration. An NFL bylaw instated during his tenure says, “It is unsportsmanlike conduct if two or more players engage in prolonged, excessive, or premeditated celebrations.”
Obviously, it would be crass if a player celebrated a touchdown with crude gestures, but the by-law is so obscure, it’s pointless. Excessive celebration is a matter of opinion. It is unreasonable to ask NFL referees to be consistent in enforcement.
Goodell’s Draconian rules are meant to create some sort of moral regulation within the field of football play. If Goodell thinks he’s qualified to make decisions about morality, he’s mistaken.
For one, most NFL teams feature a squad of highly sexualized, all-female cheerleading squads. Cheerleading serves a purpose in high school and college athletics. Co-ed spirit squads lead spectators in cheers and provide half-time entertainment.
In contrast, NFL cheerleaders are treated as eye-candy. They are a scantily clad, underpaid marketing tool.
In 2014, an Oakland Raiders cheerleader, identified as Lacy T, filed a lawsuit against the organization for low pay — a meager $1,250 for the season.
In addition to treating cheerleaders poorly, Goodell and the NFL regularly sell themselves to the marketing devil. Sunday viewers are bombarded with advertisements for alcoholic beverages and erectile dysfunction medications.
Goodell has a right to sell ad space, but Budweiser and Viagra commercials are clearly inappropriate in a family setting.
These advertisements do more damage to the minds of youth than watching someone celebrate a touchdown. American society struggles with alcohol dependency — not watching Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham celebrate a touchdown by dunking a football on a goalpost.
Perhaps Goodell thinks the new rules enhance his damaged reputation. From the player and referee lockouts, Deflategate and near constant scandals and cover-ups, it is a wonder the inept and unqualified commissioner still has a job.
Policing innocent behavior won’t help Goodell. The recent decline in ratings is only a hint of what is to come if NFL owners don’t drop Goodell before he can do more damage to the game.
Sam Balas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org