The Last Days of the NFL

I think we are witnessing the last days of the NFL.  I don’t think it will die out in a year or two or even five.  I say give it ten to fifteen years and the NFL as we know if will be history.  I don’t think any boycott on either side of the national anthem debate will hurt the NFL.  They are way too big for that and I doubt the sincerity of those that claim to be  boycotting.

I think the demise of the NFL is going to come about because of today’s young athletes.  When I say young I mean 10-17 years old.  Children are always listening and they are hearing and seeing the conversations adults are having about the flag, patriotism and police brutality. If football doesn’t fascinate an American boy in his youth the passion will probably never be there and that will affect the fan base and NFL recruitment.

I grew up in the Detroit area and I have vivid childhood memories of Detroit Lions games being viewed in my home.  I recall one game when I was around three that I was watching with my dad and he threw a shoe at the TV.  (If you know anything about the Detroit Lions you can understand my father’s frustration.)  My mother was a Detroit Lions fan when they had their 0-16 season.  And I remember many Thanksgivings being ruined because of the way the Lions performed on national TV.  These memories never leave a person.

I live in Kansas City now and I’ve developed a fondness for the Kansas City Chiefs but the Lions are always going to be my team and the Chiefs are my backup team.  But if  the adults around me as a child weren’t interested in football or were angry at the NFL I don’t know that I would have much interest in the sport as an adult.

As a Black woman if I was the mother of a young son I don’t think I would encourage him to play organized football.  I’m not sure I would encourage my son to play any sport for anything other than exercise and socializing.  I’ve felt this way for years due to the rough nature of football and the fear of my son suffering permanent brain damage due to concussions.  But I don’t think that pro sports is a good career choice for Black men anymore.  Despite the money, fame and passion for the game I don’t think it’s worth it.

Black men in the sports world are treated terribly these days.  Cam Newton is one of my favorites and he has been treated like garbage by fans and the media.  My favorite Chief Marcus Peters gets dragged on social media after ever game despite being a key player on a 5-0 team.  He has consistently sat down for the national anthem this season and does not explain his reasons for doing so.  I think he’s smart for that because he would be criticized for anything he said.

I’ve read stories about high school athletes being kicked off of their football teams for taking the knee.  I saw a different story about a high school student that protested during the anthem and he was bullied on social media for it.  I see no reason to encourage a young Black boy to participate in organized sports.  There’s nothing in it for them unless they swallow their pride and become a prized animal of sorts for another man.  It seems that America wants its pro athletes to perform for them,  take the pictures but keep quiet like one of the horses in the Kentucky Derby.

I saw a documentary on TV once about football and concussions.  An expert on the program said that if a small percent of American mothers refused to let their sons play football it would change the game.  I can see many American mothers refusing to let their sons play football because of the national anthem controversy regardless of the side they fall on.

But if Black women refused to let their sons play ball or if Black boys decided to take interest in the arts or choir or horticulture the NFL as we know it dies.  It will not survive.  In ten years I will be fifty two.  I will probably still be alive and completely coherent.  I will remember men, athletes, performers named Neon Deion Sanders, Barry Sanders, Megatron, Tyreek Hill and Odell Beckham that lit up the football field.

The field of athletes that feeds into the college system and into the NFL will be weakened if American Black boys are disinterested in or hold disdain for the NFL and their fans.  There won’t be many if any exciting, charismatic athletes like those I mentioned earlier in the future.  And even if there are a few they may not have much competion which leads to the downfall of America’s favorite sport.

There are some good White football players.  There are some great White quarterbacks, some good defensive players, kickers and punters and then there is Gronkowski and the man who makes my heart go pitter pat, Travis Kelce.  But the NFL’s personality, style and soul has come from Black men and they aren’t going to find it again outside of Black Americans.

Without African Americans the league will be much slower, more reserved and honestly dull.  No one, not even the fake hillbilly patriots are going to watch that.  But the NFL juggernaut will go down without a fight.  They will do something to try and reclaim their brand.  In the future the NFL will probably be like gladiator matches in ancient Rome.  They will probably release wild tigers into the stadium in order to speed up the slow pokes.

Or perhaps they will draft athletes.  By that I don’t mean “Yaaay, I’m a first round draft pick so now I’m gonna buy my mama a house!”  I mean please show up to this office at the appointed time or face consequences Marquiese.  Marquiese will probably end up wrestling tigers too.  In an ever increasing callous society that is infatuated with violence and doesn’t love people I think it could happen.  At that point the NFL will be desperate for ratings and will do anything to recoup lost revenue.

I’m sure the NFL is at the end of its golden age.  I’m going to enjoy it while I can and watch it’s slow downward spiral.  I can’t be alone in having resentful feelings toward these controlling racists that demand that Black men salute “their” flag.  I can’t be the only person that is appalled by the way so called fans talk to athletes on social media.  Even with the promise of fame and riches it seems like a dead end and I wouldn’t want any son of mine entertaining hateful Neo Nazis or aveage Americans, it’s getting hard to tell the difference, while sacrificing his body.  Nope, I’d rather my son be a dentist.

I’ve always enjoyed sports because it’s objective.  There beginnings, religion, political and social connections were irrelevant.  Athletes earned their spot in the NFL because they were the best and the team managers wanted to win.  Now athletes are getting picked off because of their beliefs.  The league won’t be as competitive and everyone that actually knows the sport will be aware of it.  The NFL, just like American democracy itself is another institution that is suffering because of America’s commitment to racism and White supremacy.

Curtis Granderson: the Great Unifier

Absolutely anything can turn into an argument on social media.  The most innocuous comment can draw a sharp tongued response from a fellow social media user with a chip on their shoulder.  We can’t agree on anything these days.  America is sharply divided by ideology: Democrat, Republican, faithful, Atheist, does pineapple belong on pizza or not, who do you hate more the Patriots or the Cowboys?  In this day and age we have a hard time respectfully allowing others to have an opinion without passing judgement on their character.  I do it too.

But I’ve noticed that there is one subject everyone agrees on: Curtis Granderson. No one ever says anything bad about him.  Like never, ever.  All of the social media comments that I’ve seen about Curtis have been admirable.  That’s an incredible accomplishment in an environment where a picture of a cupcake or puppy can start an argument.

Curtis is the outfielder Curtis Granderson for the LA Dodgers.  I’ve followed his career since he played for my Detroit Tigers around ten years ago.  I’ve had a crush on the man since then.  He’s tall, athletic, Black, wealthy and absolutely charming with old fashioned manners.  You can tell he was raised by adult parents with common sense and morals that instilled good values in their son.  That’s rare.  The only person that compares is J.J. Watt who is the blonde, blue eyed NFL equivalent.

I think the secret to Curtis’ popularity is that we don’t know much about the man.  I’ve looked for information about the man’s personal life because I’ve been in love with him for like a decade but there isn’t much out there.  Other than a Wikipedia page, articles about his charity and stats Curtis Granderson is a mystery.  He has not given us anything to talk about or judge.  Instead of seeking attention he uses discretion.  Discretion is not appreciated much in this social media world of ours.

Anyway, God bless Curtis Granderson.  I’m still hoping the Royals will win the Wild Card and make it into the Pennant Race and make a good run for another World Series ring.  Honesly, it’s not looking great for the Royals so I will jump on the LA Dodgers bandwagon and cheer them on for a World Series ring.  Curtis deserves it.  He’s had an impressive career and is a more impressive human being.  Thank you Curtis Granderson for standing for class, tact and professionalism.  The world appreciates you.

The Las Vegas Raiders

So the Oakland Raiders are moving to Las Vegas.  The Raiders are not my team so I’m not very interested in what they do.  I don’t care for Las Vegas so I don’t have much concern about what happens there.  But I don’t think this move to Vegas is a good idea.  And I don’t think anything good will come of it.

First of all, this move is just plain douchey.  Raiders fans are some of the most passionate and loyal in the NFL.  I feel bad for the Oakland fans.  This is a slap in the face by the Raiders management.  I’ve only been to the airport in Oakland so I don’t know much about the city.  But it seems like a hometown kind of town.  I bet if you polled adults on the streets of Oakland most of them grew up in Oakland.  It seems blue collar and a little bit gritty.  In other words, it’s my kind of place.  The Raiders are leaving Oakland behind for an artificial tourist town with a large transient population.

Vegas is OK.  You can have a nice vacation there and it may be a great place to retire but it has no character.  There’s no soul to Vegas.  It will be interesting to see if the Raiders will actually gain new fans in Las Vegas.  Seeing as how most of the population is transplanted from outside of Nevada the new Raiders may be a tough sell.  The impression that I have of Nevada outside of Vegas is that it is made up of people that want to live off the grid and take little interest in pro sports.

The city of Las Vegas is planning on building the Raiders a glorious new stadium.  There is something about it that is a bit creepy to me.  It’s like something out of the “Hunger Games”.  The NFL is relying on public funding to help build this stadium.  This happens all over the country and it always upsets me.

The NFL has plenty of money and I don’t understand why they need to turn themselves into high class welfare cases in order to build or renovate their stadiums.  Their excuse is that the team will help the local economy.  That’s true but I don’t think any city’s economy can be based on a sports franchise.  And if the Raiders are really interested in helping a local economy they should be concerned with what they are doing to Oakland’s economy.  Oakland could surely use the financial boost more than Vegas does.  I don’t see why Las Vegas needs the help.

I think the move to Vegas is going to be a big problem for a lot of the athletes.  People pass judgment on pro athletes when they misbehave but they are young, rich, popular and privileged.  I think a lot of them do well in their lot in life considering the temptations that are thrown in their faces.  If I was one of them I sure would have been a holy terror.

So the Raiders want to take their team that is made up of young men that are probably on average aged 27.  The town is known as Sin City and prostitution has been normalized and is legal in parts of Nevada.  Other NFL teams will have to pass through Vegas when playing the Raiders.  Does the NFL really think there will be no drama resulting from this move?  To me it’s really kind of cruel.  The NFL is setting these young athletes up for failure.

For years pro sports didn’t want sports franchises in Vegas because they were worried there would be a conflict of interest between the gambling business and sports.  I don’t understand what changed other than we live in a world where politicians and business leaders have less integrity than they had even a decade ago.  The Raiders had a great season last year but wouldn’t it seem a little fishy if they made it to the Superbowl next year?  A lot of fans already suspect that the NFL is rigged.

Anyway, I hope this all turns into a disaster and I want to see the Raiders try to return home to the bay with their tail between their legs only to find out that their once loyal fans now support the 49ers.  I hope the good people of Las Vegas replace all of their flunky politicians that act in the interest of big business instead of acting in the best interest of the tax paying citizens.

The Reason I’m a Sports Fan – Shannon in Kansas City

It’s time for the NFL Playoffs.  My favorite team, the Detroit Lions didn’t make the Playoffs and my second favorite team the Kansas City Chiefs lost in the second round which ended their season.  Watching sports on TV or in person has become one of my favorite past times.

Sporting events are one of only a few examples of wholesome programming on TV.  Almost everything on television these days is a vapid reality show, a show about murder or something that I consider to be demonic.  I enjoy a few of the Real Housewife shows but all of the subsequent casts have saturated the airwaves with manufactured images of selfish, mean and sometimes violent women.

There are dozens upon dozens of TV shows about murder.  “CSI”, “Forensic Files”, “Snapped”, “The First 48” are all compelling series but geez Louise don’t people get tired of stories about people killing other people.  I sure do.  And all of these shows use graphic and explicit images.  I get it.  He got his throat cut.  I don’t need the bloody visual thank you very much.

Almost everything else on TV is somehow demonic and dark sided in nature.  I don’t have much interest in zombies, vampires or people that communicate with the dead.  At least I’m not interested enough to watch a weekly series about these subjects.

So much of American television programming is devoted to the occult, violence and reality TV that glorifies people for behaving in a way that would never be accepted in day to day life.  It’s great to see a celebration of youth, strength, fitness and hard work.  That’s what sports competitions are to me.

In a largely sedentary country with an obesity problem it’s great to see physically fit people using their bodies to reach accomplishments and earn a living.  Seeing athletes on TV inspires me to get off the couch and move around.  And they all look great.  I have to say that some professional athletes are made of stardust.  Stardust is the active ingredient in all of our dreams.

I think that athletes are so glamorous.  They are young, rich and have the world by the tail.  I love it and I wish it was me.  I know that they are only human and they have personal struggles like we all do.  In fact, when you follow the careers of athletes you know that a pro career is full of struggle.  But I don’t know any of these guys personally and I only know what I see on TV and in the stadiums.  And it is absolutely lovely and inspiring.

Professional athletes are great role models for children and all the rest of us.  They are young, prosperous, athletic and in the prime of their lives.  Many of them came from disadvantaged backgrounds and now they appear before crowds of thousands and millions on TV.  The real stars are attractive, articulate and have a lot of personality.  I sure want to be like that.  I’m constantly working on it.

I’m glad for the NFL, NBA and MLB.  There would be very little worthwhile to watch on TV without it.  And they give us young stars to admire that will one day be legends that we remember with fondness and pride.  In a world filled with divisions the camaraderie amongst fans transcends race and economic background.  It is a thrill to watch a man fight for his pride and childhood dreams.  There is nothing else like it.  I love it!

#ChiefsKingdom #OnePride

 

You Never Know What’s Around the Corner

I watched the Kansas City Royals defeat the Houston Astros in a thrilling game this afternoon.  The Royals came back to earn a Game Five which keeps their World Series hopes alive.  The 2015 Postseason is pretty exciting because there are so many underdogs playing this year.  Over the years the Cubs, the Royals, the Astros have all been sympathetic if not laughable names in baseball.  The Royals had a Cinderella post season but I’m sure a lot of people dismissed last year’s World Series appearance as a fluke.  Now everyone knows that they mean business.

I am absolutely thrilled that we could potentially have a Kansas City Royals vs Chicago Cubs World Series.  I would have never guessed that was even possible two years ago.  That’s what I love about sports.  Sports stories are often metaphors for life.  We never know what blessings are around the corner and we never know where we will be two years from now.  We could be living out lifelong dreams and accomplishing things we never thought were really possible.

I’ve enjoyed the Kansas City Royals since I moved here in 1998.  I didn’t become a fan because they were a very competitive team.  For most of the time I’ve lived here they have been at the bottom of the barrel.  I became a fan because I enjoy going to the games and I developed a soft spot in my heart for them.  The success they had last year really took me by surprise and delighted me at the same time.  And here they are again and they are in it to win it.  I wish them the very best.

If the Royals don’t win the Series I would be consoled if they lost to the Cubs.  I have never followed the Cubs but I know that they are more famous for being perennial losers than anything else.  It does my heart to see them performing well.  I love an under dog.  And if I was a betting woman I would always put my money on the long shot.

Keep chipping away at your hopes and dreams with passion.  You never know when your dedication and hard work may pay off.  Most of us see ourselves as underdogs in some way.  Bet on yourself.  They pay out will be greater.