More than a PR Problem for the NFL
My oldest son, who is 6, has been really excited to watch football with me this year. Last season I declared that I would again righteously abstain from watching any games. Then my Chiefs teased me into their trap of not losing something like the first 10 games and the first game I watched was the first game they lost, to Denver. From that point on, they struggled. But I was back on the sauce! (as a quick side-note, the Chiefs only lose when I start getting invested in the outcome. Any attempt to tell me this is an irrational, kinda narcissistic superstition will fall on deaf ears).
And then there was the Superbowl last year with the Seahawks finally bringing home the trophy. I remember watching the Seahawks in the old Kingdom when I lived in Seattle as a kid. My favorite player back then was Steve Largent. I met him once, signing headshots at a bank. As a kid, I was delighted.
What initially intrigued my oldest was what I will call my “active viewership” of the games I started investing interest in again. I guess all that yelling and jumping and crying into pillows (not really, but close) inspired him to try to understand what the hell was getting his dad to act like a crazy person.
So this year, at the start of the season, we watched the Seahawks on opening night. My kid is really interested in the rivalries, who I like, and why. He asks all kinds of questions about different teams. I try and explain why I think the Cowboys suck (sorry Duganz) and why I want to watch the Broncos (Manning) even though I am obligated to hate the Broncos, as a Chiefs fan. He listens intently.
What my kids, both of them, saw tonight was a portion of the video of Ray Rice knocking out his girlfriend in the elevator. I literally fumbled with the remote control knowing what was coming, but I double clicked the on/off button and the screen came back on, showing the unconscious body of Janay Rice sprawled face down outside the elevator.
There is so much wrong going on in the NFL, and it’s been going on for a long time. For this particular PR disaster (because that’s how it’s being treated) I’d start by reading Zirin’s take at The Nation. From there I’d ask why it takes video footage to create this kind of outrage. The video of Janay sprawled out unconscious has been out for awhile now. What about seeing the actual blow changes what was known?
I don’t know where football goes from here, though my hunch would be business as usual after the scrutiny blows over.
I also don’t know where I should go with watching it with my kids.