Wednesday, January 28, 2015

It's a great week for America everybody...

... as hypocrites from coast to coast prepare for the annual human sacrifice euphemistically known as The Super Bowl.
Tough-guy commentator Mike Ditka once commented on-air that, “If God had wanted man to play soccer he wouldn’t have given us arms.” Following Dave Duerson's suicide and autopsy that revealed a brain deformed by chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Ditka had a much-needed epiphany and admitted that he wouldn’t let his own sons play football. “That’s sad. I wouldn’t. And my whole life was football,” he told Real Sports host Bryant Gumbel. “I think the risk is worse than the reward.”
In issuing this confession, Ditka became a poster boy for the perpetual cognitive dissonance that rules NFL fans.
In 2012 Bill Simmons, founder of Grantland, summed up the situation this way:
“That’s what the NFL is banking on these next few years—hypocrisy, basically—as more stories emerge about the tortured lives of retired players. Many of them can’t walk, sit down or remember anything. Some battle debilitating headaches and gulp down pills like they’re peanuts. A few weeks ago, Jim McMahon confessed in an interview that his short-term memory was gone, then admitted he wouldn’t even remember the interview as he was giving it. You hear these things, you sigh, you feel remorse, you forget … and then you go back to looking forward to the next football season.
"Against Football" author Steve Almond clearly presents the extent to which the NFL (admitting in court documents that it expects up to 30% of its players to suffer chronic brain injuries) relies on cognitive dissonance to protect 'the Shield'.
"Cognitive dissonance has become our default setting.
"It’s what allows avowed feminists to champion a game which men are defined as hyper-aggressive, while woman bounce like sexual ornaments on the sidelines. Or social justice activists to back a sport whose players are harvested from poor neighborhoods, valued almost exclusively for their physical prowess, and trained to suppress their empathy. Or progressives to enjoy the sport that exemplifies America’s corporate win-at-all-cost ethos.
"Cognitive dissonance is what allows citizens who vehemently oppose tax cheats to underwrite a league that lobbied Congress for tax-exempt status despite earning $10 billion dollars in annual revenue.
"It’s what allows Tea Partyers who decry government waste to sponsor a league that derives a whopping 70 percent of stadium funding from taxpayers. (Thanks to our allegiance, the league essentially siphons millions of dollars from the public till and pours them into the pockets of billionaire owners.)
"Cognitive dissonance also allows antiwar protesters to celebrate a league whose long standing partnership with the military is both financially and psychologically symbiotic."
"And this compartmentalization operates at every level of the game.
"There are scores of union members who love the college game, despite the fact that it operates on a system that amounts to indentured servitude. And professors who cheer their hearts out for a sport that degrades the intellectual mission of higher education.
"Of course, Americans are complicit in all sorts of ways. We decry cruelty toward animals and eat scores of them. We bemoan climate change and continue to guzzle fossil fuels. We lament gun violence but subsidize a popular culture brimming with pornographic cruelties.
"What makes the promotional run-up to this year’s Super Bowl especially galling is the dearth of ethical self-reflection, given all we have learned about football. The facts cited above, after all, are no longer well-guarded secrets. They are known and accepted aspects of the industry."
Football is currently the most popular and profitable sport in America but while NFL owners are busy counting their loot and fending off lawsuits, more and more parents are agreeing with Ditka and electing alternative sports for their children.

Hopefully, in the next generation, Bob Kraft may have more in common with Don King as the NFL goes the way of boxing.

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