Now I’ll be the first one to say I don’t give a damn about sports. I don’t watch sports, I pay no attention to the teams, the players or anything else involved in any professional sport on the planet. I consider them all vastly overpaid prima donnas. Screw sports stars. However, the recent move for professional sports teams to start banning players who are involved in domestic abuse cases strikes me as a bit bizarre.
Now that’s not to say I support domestic abuse, I most certainly do not, but these cases are criminal offenses, not “jobsite” offenses. Not one of those players abused their partners or children during a game or on the field. They just didn’t. All of these offenses took place on the player’s free time and as such, it isn’t the place of their employers to punish them, it is the job of the criminal justice system to do so and I’m firmly convinced that each and every one of these wife-beating monsters ought to be behind bars.
No, the owners of the NFL teams really don’t give a damn about the women who get abused, they only care about people coming through the turnstiles and since, as I’ve recently heard, nearly 45% of football fans are women, they’re trying desperately to appeal to that demographic. They don’t give a shit about domestic abuse, they want your dollars! Bad publicity for their players translates to bad publicity for the teams and for the sports themselves and that costs them money. They’re just trying to placate their fans when they get pissed off at the off-field antics of these idiot players.
But it makes me wonder where the line is for such activities. Even if we get away from domestic abuse, what happens when a sports team decides they want to be against drunk driving? Do they suspend all players who have gotten into a car above the legal limit? Or how about something not even illegal, what if they decide that their fans are anti-smoking? Do they fire all players caught with a cigarette in their mouth? Where does it end? And even if we get away from sports, what if your employer decides they want to control what you do in your life, outside of work? Can they? If you work at Chik-fil-A, can they get on your Facebook page and find out that you’re not a Christian and fire you for it? Or if you work for Budweiser, can they fire you because they find a picture of you online holding a Heineken? Where does your off-work time become off-limits for your employer?
Personally, I think the NFL should have just issued a statement decrying domestic abuse and offered any and all help to the authorities in prosecuting these players who are found guilty. It’s a criminal matter, leave it at that. If you want to fire these players once they are actually convicted in a court of law, fine. After all, they have a contract to play and they can’t do that from behind bars, they’ve violated their own contract in that case, no harm, no foul. But to do it proactively, before they are convicted, before they have even seen the inside of a courtroom, just because they want to placate the fans, I’m wholly against that. Leave the law to the legal system. Don’t pretend to pass judgement on people until they are proven guilty, just because you want to keep the flow of money coming in. If I had any respect for the NFL before, which I didn’t, it’s gone now.