Off the field, the NFL is taking a beating. The predominant story of the last two weeks has been one of the league’s star players, Antonio Brown, facing rape and sexual assault allegations in a civil lawsuit in Florida. Nike said it dropped Brown, and the Patriots finally released him on Friday.
By the time the NFL’s Week 3 games had come and gone on Sunday, there were many fans on social media still left wondering why stadiums across the nation seemed so empty.
We’re not going to suggest that Antonio Brown is solely to blame. The ghetto culture that Roger Goodell and NFL team owners permit to invade the pro game is the real trouble. It’s a culprit in the plague of empty seats at NFL games early this season.
The sexual assault allegations against Brown coupled with his Bad Boy antics reinforce the game’s negative image. With each season, the NFL moves farther away from traditional values. This isn’t a matter of color, but culture. It’s about failing to promote basic values that most Americans embrace. Honesty, decency, respect, and abiding the rules aren’t exclusive to anyone race or ethnic group.
To say otherwise is actually… racist. Law-abiding black Americans aren’t appalled by Brown’s behavior? They aren’t repulsed by the long list of domestic violence, drug, assault, gun, battery, DUI, and other charges leveled against a disproportionate number of black NFL players?
No one is suggesting that black players alone break the rules and laws. But the trouble is – again – disproportionate among black players from a poorer, often urban, socio-economic strata.
Misconduct – regardless of race – needs more than to be denounced. Sanctions for violence, misconduct, and criminality are only partial solutions. No one is arguing against the presumption of innocence. Every player is entitled to his day in court – or before the commissioner. But the NFL needs to be proactive. It should promote outstanding conduct among its players. Zero-tolerance toward miscreants should be an automatic. No second, third, and fourth chances.
Give a quick review of a list compiled by USA Today, as recently as this August. Violence and criminality have become disturbing parts of the pro players’ world. It’s stark testimony as to why many fans are turning off the pro game.
The NFL is guilty of caving to a permissive worldview. Progressives decided that ghetto culture needs to be celebrated – or, at least, given a pass – not overcome. Black players who rise from mean streets should definitely be praised for their determination and drive. But far higher expectations for conduct need to be set. When players leave the mean streets, they must leave its culture of violence and crime behind. That includes misogyny, domestic violence, and sexual aggression toward women.
And college football? College football is guilty, too. The NFL and NCAA should partner on a program that teaches players the importance of living by “All-American values.” “Adapt or go” must be the baseline. It's a program for all players. Ghetto culture – or any culture – that doesn’t live by the time-honored values held by most Americans needs to be shunned.
Given today’s highly politicized nation, teaching All-American values would be deemed controversial – and racist – by the left. But go ask blacks who live in inner-cities. Ask if they prefer the violence, ill-treatment of women, and crime. They don’t want better lives for themselves and their families? They want to continue to be victims?
They want much better. Every American needs chances for better lives. That’s not exclusive to any race.
What do you think? Weigh in!