The changing of the leaves, sweatshirt weather, pumpkin-flavored everything…we all have our reasons for loving fall. For many of us, our reason comes on 100 yards of grass between two yellow goal posts.
As the commercials accurately depict, many of us wait all year for football season. At this time, three weeks in, we should be stressing/gloating over the pitfalls/successes of our favorite team. We should be meticulously preparing our fantasy teams, insisting we will reign supreme this time around. We should be hooked on Sports Center, watching statistics roll by and giving our input on who the lone February survivors will be.
Instead of all these joys of the season, we are watching Sports Center to get news on the latest NFL player-gone-criminal, stressing over having to take superstars off our fantasy teams, and second guessing the decisions of our coaches, owners, and commissioners.
At a certain point a few weeks ago, all football fans wanted was for the Ray Rice thing to go away so we could get back to football. Only the die-hard Ravens fans really needed more time to recover. But just as we were ready to move on, BOOM, Adrian Peterson.
Arguably — and currently statistically — the best active running back in the NFL. The Minnesota Viking back was indicted for “reckless or negligent injury to a child” on Sept. 12. You can argue until you are blue in the face about the proper way to discipline a child, but everyone can agree that Peterson went too far. It may not be right to rank anyone’s crime, but Ray Rice punching his fiancée in a lovers’ quarrel is nothing next to child abuse when the kid is only four.
Nonetheless, it happened, and it is all any sports fan heard about that week. The Vikings suspended Peterson, and he didn’t play in their embarrassing 30-7 loss to the Patriots. They reinstated him, took enormous flak for it, and re-suspended him; all of this happening in real time on TV stations across the country.
Just when we thought we couldn’t take it, the sounds of a late night infomercial stopped us in our tracks: but wait, there’s more! Panther’s defensive end Greg Hardy took a leave of absence to deal with his domestic violence charges, and Cardinal’s running back Jonathon Dwyer was arrested for assaulting a woman and an 18-month-old child. It is not a competition, but Dwyer took the worst of Rice and Peterson and won the super bowl of the NFL domestic violence scandals…so far.
When will it end? The league is starting to realize that they need to take immediate action and do the right thing. They are suspending these men and letting legal action take over, to some extent. The 49ers still let Ray McDonald play, despite his pending domestic violence charges. At least karma is good for something, as the 49ers lost in a huge come-from-behind fashion in prime time Sunday Night Football.
It is safe to say that football fans want it all to go away, but we don’t just want sheer ignorance; we want these men — with so much impact on the lives of Americans as role models and entertainers — to take accountability. There are way too many little boys in Minnesota feeling conflicted as they pull on that Peterson jersey on Sunday. The Ravens’ organization has started allowing people to trade in their Rice jerseys. We are losing faith in our heroes.
Football is our game. It is our favorite part about Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and now even Thursday. An NBC poll shows that 90 percent of Americans aren’t watching less football because of these recent atrocities. How could we? We can, however, express our disgust in the actions of these men and any player who thinks they are above the law and general moral behavior because they score touchdowns. We love our game, and we will always watch. The NFL, its players, and its coaches need to stop making us regret it.