“It was devastating,” said an anonymous scout for the Washington Redskins. “I could see it on the faces of the staff, the dagger being driven in their hearts with each pelvic thrust. By the fifth pump, our souls died a little bit, knowing there was only more embarrassment to come.”
Their souls died, pieces of it being Shang Tsung’ed by Antonio Brown’s pelvic region. Penalties for celebrations and taunting have become the story of what we are back to dubbing the No Fun League (NFL). But in yelling at Roger Goodell for taking away our happiness, we forget about the people the rules serve to protect.
Goodell isn’t just crusading to make the game safer by gradually stopping people from hitting other people. He’s also on a mission of empathy for people’s feelings. He’s a good shepherd of the highest form.
MLB pitchers are sensitive men who don’t appreciate people celebrating and not playing the game the way pitchers demand they play the game. So their response is to throw objects at opposing players at very high speeds. While a reasonable reaction that would hold up in any other form of society, we should thank the NFL for taking a different approach.
We only see the final result: NFL players being fined an amount of money they would probably blow on a fish tank. But we never hear the stories that led to the NFL making these judgments. We never hear from the victims of taunting…
“Before my family moved back to Bloomfield, I lived near Ludlow, Maine as a child. There was a highway that ran past our home. The highway was rarely busy, so it was constantly used by speeding trucks.
“One day I was nearly hit by a truck during a neighborhood picnic. Thankfully the doctor that lived next door was able to get me out of harm’s way. The driver never stepped out to apologize or check on me. He instead flexed his biceps as he barked at us to get out of the way.
“Carlos Hyde barreling into me was humiliating enough. I mean, you had to know everyone was going to poke fun when we watched tape of the game later that week, right? Coach Arians had about five minutes of jokes lined up. You can tell how much thought he put into it. He’s not that nice of a guy.
“But when Hyde flexed in my direction, I was traumatized. It was the picnic all over again. I sat down on the charter that night without saying a single word. I just wanted to go home, get as far away as possible.
“I know Hyde was pleased with his play. But he doesn’t understand how that moment affected me. He doesn’t know what I have gone through. I thank Roger [Goodell] for taking this stance. The fine doesn’t erase that moment or that day at the picnic, but it’s good to know someone cares.” ~ Marcus Cooper, Arizona Cardinals
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“Being a father and husband is trying. Sometimes I forget to take out the trash in the morning, so we have to wait three or four days before the garbage man shows up again. I think we call them trash collectors now. That’s the more politically correct term. Like how you shouldn’t call small people ‘midgets’.
“Sometimes I get the wrong brand of chicken broth from the store or forget to pick up milk. One time I bought my son a Washington Wizards jersey because he was doing some talent show for his school. He did a rap performance and wanted to wear basketball apparel like all the other rappers do.
“I bought him a Bradley Beal jersey, but he threw it back in my face. ‘I wanted a John Wall jersey! Who the fuck cares about Beal?!’ He curses and throws things at me because his mother does the same thing. I’m so used to it now, making a mistake and having it thrown back in my face.
“I put up with enough of that shit at home, so I’m not trying to deal with it on the football field. But that’s what Terrelle Pryor did, treating me like my wife and kid. And I know some people say Pryor was trying to get the ball to the official and that I got in the way. Fuck that. He knew what he was doing. If I can’t get any justice at home, I’ll take it at work.” ~ Ladarius Webb, Baltimore Ravens
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“I wrote a letter to Cam Newton last year. During a game against the Titans, he failed as a role model and greatly confused my then nine-year-old daughter. I tried to be understanding of his reasons for expression.
My daughter is now ten and going down the wrong path. Her teachers complain about her dabbing in class after exams. I was called to the school yesterday because she was seen twerking for a group of middle school boys. I’m not sure where she developed that type of behavior. I’m not entirely certain what twerking is.
I still think about that day last year. I still remember what she told me on the shuttle back to our car. ‘I guess he doesn’t have kids or a Mom at home watching the game.’ Well I do have a child, and I am a mother, and after what my daughter saw that day my life as a mother has been difficult.
The NFL should have begun cracking down on taunting that day. I’m happy for the players and families benefitting from the current changes, but it’s coming a year too late for me and my family. The NFL may be America’s most violent sport, but it is also holds the key to this country’s next generation not crumbling to the lowest depths of society. If only Mr. Goodell had stepped in sooner.” ~ Concerned mother from Tennessee