The players are new. The allegations are new. The situation is old. Some player does something he or she simply should not do; something that is outright illegal. They pay big bucks to lawyers and walk out of the police station and right back onto the playing field. Maybe, just maybe, the player does something so distasteful that advertisers drop the individual from their cereal boxes or their shoes. But dropping the NFL or NBA or what-have-you, well, to coin Steve Martin, “Naaa.”
Let’s face it, no matter what the right-wing evangelicals think about this country, the dollar is god almighty here. When organizations find the love-note of the masses and attract piles of cash that could reach to heaven itself, there are few advertisers that would shun the cash cow. And even if one does reject the money brokers in the church, another will step in right behind them to take their place.
Sports has become one of the primary focal points of this nation, perhaps the world, but certainly here. School budgets get cut resulting in fewer art classes, fewer music classes, but the sports go on and even grow. When I was in high school, which would seem like ancient times to most of you reading this, my high school was growing, as so many do. Classrooms were placed in mobile units while the building was expanded. Fair enough.
During two of my four high school years there was a huge concern about the new football stadium. The stadium was so important that the cafeteria, also needing reconstruction, was put on hold until the stadium was completed. So, for two years there was no place to eat or spend one’s lunch time. Students were allowed to mingle in the yards, or huddle under the walkways in bad weather. Old wooden stadium benches were put in one of the yards as a place for us to sit. The cafeteria, a place where young, growing bodies could take nourishment, was considered less important than that almighty football field and stands. The band room was also put on hold. Shop classes were greatly reduced. I think Home-Ec died in those years.
In this country sports are the regal court and football is king. Steroids and drugs, concussions and health issues, cheating and derogatory brand names, abuse and morally questionable stars, no matter how thick the pile of revolting behavior the status quo will not change so long as the fans are willing turn blind eyes so their Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays can be filled with joyous hard hitting action. While the fans throw billions at the organizations, who in turn throw millions at the owners and players, at least at the professional level, unsavory participants can buy their way out of court, and sell their way right back into the game. How long did it take OJ to really fall from grace? And even today some would proclaim that the glove didn’t fit.
The NFL will shuffle through this latest mess, and move on to the next while growing ever fatter on its tax-exempt status. How an organization can make billions and be considered non-profit is beyond me. But it is all thanks to the fans. The NFL will keep their star players playing, and their fans cheering and paying, and Never Feel the Loss.