Posted by: First Mate | February 1, 2015

Why We Are Not Watching the Super Bowl This Year

We won’t be watching the Super Bowl this year. It’s not because of the snacks, beer or TV, I love all that. It’s not because of the commercialization, I love Super Bowl commercials. I love football, I went to USC and like Pete Carroll. I even shared season tickets with my brother one year. When I lived in Kahuku, Hawai’i I remember the pride when two young men from our small community, both Pacific Islanders, played in Super Bowl XLIII – Steelers vs Cardinals. Actually, 17 professional football players attended Kahuku High School in the last several years. We won’t be watching the Super Bowl for a few reasons: the league which makes approximately $9 Billion a year doesn’t really seem to care about the players and violence is promoted in the game.

How is it that we are shocked when violence carries over into the personal lives of some of the players? As a consumer I am saying no to deflate gate and to endorsing football as a form of religion in this country. And yes, many college and pro football players are amazing role models, family members and community leaders. Despite the Manti Teo girlfriend drama, he provides the perfect example of a small town, religious boy and big press.

Here is my rationale for “quitting football”:

Despite the fact that the NFL is now FINALLY hiring a Chief Medical Officer, to address concussion and other issues, in my opinion they still need to adopt more responsibility towards the players from a holistic standpoint. Hire a Chief Financial Educator/planner for the players. Teach them that their abilities and their resources are finite. Many of these players, like the ones from Kahuku and Lai’e came from hard working families with limited resources and just don’t realize the responsibility of a big contract on several levels. According to a 2009 Sports Illustrated article, By the time they have been retired for two years, 78% of former NFL players have gone bankrupt or are under financial stress.

More press was given to Deflate Gate than to the murder of Dr Michael J Davidson at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.  This is upsetting due to the increasing trend of violence against healthcare providers.

It took the suicide of Junior Seau (USC) and Paul Oliver to start a national media discussion on football related head trauma.  And it took the settlement of a class action lawsuit brought by 5,000 former players for the league to admit nearly 1/3 of players will develop long term cognitive problems (Alzheimers and dementia) related to head trauma in the game.

Every year it seems there are reports of rape and violence against women by college and pro football players. It wasn’t until the Ray Rice elevator knock out video, I won’t include the link, which the NFL denied having knowledge of, and the Adrian Peterson domestic violence case that a discussion of what is actually going on among players and the community started to take place in the national media.

In 2013, Florida State player Jameis Winston still won the Heisman Trophy despite accusations of the rape of a fellow student. Ironic, another Heisman trophy winner, this one from USC was accused of the gruesome murder of his ex wife and her friend  – then was acquitted and eventually given custody of his children. Do we really need to revisit the OJ saga?

I am not sure I will go back to football, as the mother of a daughter, it’s hard for me to get excited about a culture that denigrates women as seen in the Buffalo Bills Cheerleader lawsuit, and the Ray Rice incident. People including the New York Times, have been asking “Who Needs Football?” for a while. Football is an American pastime. This family just needs to take a break from the mayhem.

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