Last semester I was enrolled in a sports psychology class. The toughest thing I had to do in that class wasn’t the tests or the papers. The hardest assignment in that class was to define the word ‘game.’ The dictionary defines it as, “a form of play or sport, especially a competitive one played according to rules and decided by skill, strength, or luck.” My definition of the word ‘game’ varied a bit from that. In my mind, a game is a physical or mental activity working
toward achieving a certain goal that is done recreationally and for fun.
If you have been keeping up with the news recently, it has probably been near impossible to watch a day of television without hearing about the National Football League’s investigation of deflated footballs used in the AFC championship game between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts. There have been countless articles talking about this case, investigating what happened with the footballs during
that game. The NFL has gone to great lengths to bring this issue to the public light and investigate it to the best of its ability.
I am here to argue that, while this may be an issue in promoting fair and equal play, there are far worse problems going on in the NFL that should be addressed than this. Let me be fair and say that I am an impartial judge in this situation. Despite the fact that I am from New England, I do not consider myself a Patriots fan.
I am not a football fan in general. So, I am not arguing this because I believe the Patriots have done nothing wrong — that really isn’t for me to say. I do believe the outcome of a game at the professional level is important. It is important to both the team and coaches who dedicate their lives to this sport. And it is also important to the fans who support their team and watch the games as a leisurely activity. However, I believe there are far worse issues going on that the NFL needs to address thoroughly before they delve into the issue of footballs that don’t meet league regulations.
In a very sarcastic opinions piece on The Washington Post called “NFL finally dealing with its Most Serious Problem” all of the more important problems in the NFL are discussed. Talking about the proper size of the footballs, the article states, “Each one must be inflated between a minimum of 12½ and a maximum of 13½ pounds per square inch. But at the Patriots/Colts game, the balls were not inflated like that. Think of the millions of children, watching the NFL, hoping to see players they can look up to, players who wield regulation footballs inflated with proper air pressure. How must those children feel? This cannot stand.” The article goes on to subtly incorporate all of the corrupt incidents caused by players in the NFL. On Feb. 15, 2014, concerning news broke about Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice. Video evidence was released of Rice dragging his then fiance, now wife, Janay Palmer from an elevator. He was arrested, charged and released from jail on simple assault charges, according to an article on SB nation. By the end of 2014, on Nov. 28 Rice eventually won his appeal and was reinstated by the NFL.
According to the same article, “A neutral arbitrator overturned Rice’s suspension, forcing the NFL to reinstate Rice and making him immediately eligible to sign with a team and resume playing.” Next we have New York Jets quarterback Michael Vick.
Vick and three associates began a dogfighting operation called “Bad News Kennels,” where the men would train the dogs to fight one another and shot, electrocuted or hung dogs who did not perform well.
After it became a Federal Investigation in 2007, by September 2010 the Philadelphia Eagles named Vick as the team’s starting quarterback and paid him $5.25 million that season, according to an article on Animal Legal Defense Fund.
Just to top things off, in December 2010 Vick stated that in the future he would like to own a dog as a family pet. Michael Vick and Ray Rice are just two examples of NFL players who have done things that are so socially unacceptable yet the NFL turned a blind eye to some of these issues.
The list of professional football players who have done things to this level of corruption could go on — Aaron Hernandez, Brandon, Marshall, Dan Snyder, etc. And I have to admit, there are sick and twisted people everywhere. This is not only seen in the NFL, however it is frequently brought up in the NFL. Why fixate so much time, energy and money on deflated balls when there are far worse things going on in the realm of professional football? If the NFL immediately dealt with and investigated the cases I mentioned above, like they have been with these deflated footballs, the lives of people and animals alike could have been spared.
In the grand scheme of things, the footballs used in that game between the Patriots and the Colts, deflated or not, did not have as much of an impact on the lives of people and our overall well-being as a society. Sure, it was important to investigate and get to the bottom of, however, I believe the NFL should treat all issues that come up in the NFL equally and realize that, after all, it really is just a game.
Sabrina Lapointe can be contacted at email@example.com