Robert Zeglinski, September 15th, 2014
Hi, I’m Robert Zeglinski. I enjoy the little things, such as sports, like all of you do. In my first post here, I just want people to remember that we’re watching a game, not an actual war. I want to remind people that the recent domestic violence stories surrounding NFL stars have significant repercussions for people around the game and social contexts everywhere. We need to be aware of what these consequences are:
Here are the Top 5 Repercussions of The Ray Rice/Adrian Peterson Cases:
1). Actual Football Competitiveness:
I think most people want to gloss over this and reasonably, as it is technically irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. For hardcore NFL fans though, we want to know the ripple effects these suspensions and controversies will have on the competitive balance of the league.
It’s easy to quantify Adrian Peterson and his value to Minnesota (he was reinstated today, justified or not).
If Peterson’s in the game, Minny is a young, fast, and physical team led by vibrant coach Mike Zimmer (whom the Bengals surprisingly don’t miss very much, Hmm). He draws all of the offensive attention and allows Matt Cassel (or Teddy Bridgewater likely soon) to play within themselves, while the Vikings play ball control offense.
If he’s out, you get blowouts at home like the one the Vikings suffered at the hands of New England yesterday.
With Ray Rice, I’m not sure how you judge what he means to the Ravens. Since they won the Super Bowl in 2012, Rice was a shell of himself last season, and it was hard to imagine him being much better this year after years of a heavy workload.
The Ravens might actually be better with a running back by committee of Bernard Pierce and Justin Forsett (Who Da Thunk It?) and that spells trouble for AFC playoff contenders.
2). The NFL’s reputation:
Yes, I know the NFL wants to make money. I know they have fans roped in (like me) to where it would be very hard to give up the game for even the largest of faults.
But it seems like they have no awareness to public or social contexts when it’s come to these kinds of situations lately. Whoever’s running the PR team is doing an awful job. If they indeed tried to cover up the Ray Rice tapes, they had to have known that it would not play out well publicly if it ever leaked (Whoops!).
The NFL seems to have put the game and money above the safety and important beliefs of it’s own fans. It’s either this league and Roger Goodell are really that incompetent, or they thought we would just gloss over these kinds of major details (LIKE A MAN HITTING HIS WIFE), and continue to focus more on 50 yard bombs from Peyton Manning or Richard Sherman’s drama.
I really don’t see how they could recover from this if they don’t take a harder stance soon.
It’s a devious thought, but man, does it seem more and more plausible by the day.
3). Media Coverage:
This consequence is more or less building off of the last piece.
How in the world did the NFL think these kinds of issues of child abuse or overall domestic abuse would not be constantly sensationalized by outlets like ESPN, or Deadspin?
Sports media LIVES off of controversy. Everyone wants the biggest scoop. Everyone wants to create a minute story out of nothing. If you feed them 56 domestic violence arrests by players (including Rice and Peterson) in recent times, they will EAT IT UP.
I don’t think one day has gone by the past week, where there hasn’t been a story featuring Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice, Ray McDonald, Greg Hardy, etc etc.
No matter how annoying it may get to some people (some people just want to watch football), the media knows it attracts a specific audience, and for all of the wrong reasons. If this continues for a significant period of time (It just might, Roger, watch out), you have to think the NFL fan base would be significantly turned off by these events if it’s constantly reiterated.
Then again, there was the NFL replacement official debacle in 2012, and the NFL has been humming along since, even if this is a completely different issue. (Change is hard and ignorant here).
4). Pushing Fans Away:
Again you have to think, how all of these consequences can pile up together.
What does it say to the female fanbase of the NFL if guys like Ray Rice, Greg Hardy (albeit he didn’t play Week 2) weren’t disciplined properly, or loving parents everywhere, saw the developments around Adrian Peterson and his children?
It means the NFL values it’s own creed of masculinity, money, and star power for it’s own athletes to further the cliche of the “Shield”.
These analysts all over the networks, constantly mention how important it is for the league to protect this “Shield”. Well I’m here to tell you that means nothing, if fans see these kinds of issues. It’s protecting money and a brand, not anything else.
It’s pathetic. It reflects more of a gladiator type atmosphere (which may have been fair to say regardless), and it constitutes the priorities of a league that sets it’s own double standards like no other. The NFL thinks it’s invincible with it’s football monopoly, but even the greatest empires fall. Especially if there are no fans.
5). Football’s future:
This may be a little extreme to talk about at this point (I mean it should be fair to look in hindsight at least, right?) but if these domestic issues aren’t dealt with properly, what does it mean for the game we all love?
There’s already been the intense movement of education of the dangers of playing football for all and the head trauma it causes. As more and more research comes out, the NFL is in danger of protecting it’s own primary product that for a lack of a better phrase, probably kills people.
Now with players constantly acting up recently (along with the classic possible cover up, nothing confirmed of course), the social issues arise, and fans wonder what a prominent sport’s leagues’ priorities are.
Think about it like this:
In 15 years, would you want to watch or have your children that play a sport that has been well documented to significantly reduce the quality and length of life, along with support a league that has no regard for it’s fans and is tone deaf to the overall consensus among former fans? (I mean in what way could this possibly sound good?).
Football is a welcome distraction for now to all of this noise, but how long can it last?
It’s all about the dollars, and that’s the core of the issue, for a league in flux.
Robert Zeglinski is an aspiring sportswriter who absolutely loves all the nitty gritty that comes with pro sports. He is currently attending Aurora University in Illinois. You can follow him on Twitter at @ZigZags82 or reach him through email (firstname.lastname@example.org) for questions or feedback.