The NFL circus is working exactly as the league needs it to work.
If you’re paying attention to the big headlines this week, you’re probably not seeing the ones taking you behind the curtain, the stories that repeatedly show what the NFL really is and really stands for.
Step right up and react to Carson Wentz being traded to the Commanders!
Pay no mind to Deshaun Watson‘s legal case, which is hitting a critical phase Friday. It’s the day prosecutors will present evidence to a grand jury seeking criminal charges against Watson, who has been accused by nearly two dozen women of sexual impropriety under the guise of seeking therapeutic massages. It’s also the day Watson will sit for his first sworn deposition in the civil lawsuits against him and say nothing. His attorney has instructed him to plead the Fifth on every question.
Thirteen months ago Watson was seen as a squeaky-clean superstar quarterback on the rise. Since then, his image has been tainted by his alleged behavior. Yet some team will likely overlook all of this and acquire him anyway, because if the NFL has taught us anything, it’s that it cares less about women than it does about meaningful anti-racism work.
Gather ’round and discuss Aaron Rodgers‘ reported record-breaking deal with Green Bay!
Ignore the latest in the Brian Flores lawsuit against the Miami Dolphins and the league, in which we discover that the Dolphins are trying to force Flores into private arbitration, which of course would happen behind closed doors and almost certainly involve an agreement by both sides to keep everything quiet. Flores has accused the Dolphins and other teams of systemic racism against Black coaches in their hiring practices, and claims that team owner Stephen Ross offered him money to tank games in 2019 so Miami could get the best-possible draft pick. Flores is also accusing Ross of setting up a meeting between Flores and a prominent quarterback early in 2020 in violation of league tampering rules.
The NFL has made a lot of people and groups bend to its will, but Flores does not appear to be another who will be bought out easily.
Scroll past the stories of Calvin Ridley‘s season-long-at-minimum suspension for gambling on games. Don’t even try to figure out why it’s OK for team owners to be heavily involved in gambling companies and the NFL to put numerous commercials on during games to get viewers to drop money at several sports books, yet drop the hammer on a player who wasn’t with his team taking the league up on the offer. And please don’t wonder where the league’s humanity is when it suspends a player at least 17 games for betting but Ray Rice initially got only two games for punching his then-fianceé unconscious and then callously dragged her off an elevator like a bag of dirty laundry.
Follow along as we breathlessly chronicle the disappearing and re-appearing Instagram posts of Kyler Murray!
You’ve already forgotten the 600,000 emails to and from the Washington Commanders‘ offices the NFL doesn’t want you to see and the dozens of women who were victimized while working for that organization, right? Let the words of the handful of former employees who bravely spoke on Capitol Hill at the end of January about the abuses they suffered be replaced by other things, right? Haven’t given recent thought to why the league is so fiercely protecting Washington owner Daniel Snyder despite numerous credible claims that he didn’t just oversee it all but was a participant? Ahh, good, good.
It’s the supposed offseason, but the NFL circus never ends. And it always provides the perfect cover for what’s really happening behind the scenes.