Memo to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the exclusive group of rich white guys who own NFL teams:
This is to advise you that, contrary to your thinking, the sport of (American) football - from which you derive part of your wealth and a great deal of your prestige - is a game.
I repeat, football is a game. G-A-M-E. Not a stuffy, corporate institution. Yes, the NFL is the professional version of the game, and it doesn't have
some of the fun things associated with the non-professional (e.g., junior high, High School) or the semi-professional (e.g., Texas high school and 'Division I' university) versions, such as Homecoming and pep rallies for example, it still is a game. A game played by well-paid, highly-skilled athletes, to be sure, but a game. Fun, remember?
Several of your employees over the last few years have attempted to express the fun they have playing this game, and quite often, you try to take the fun of their celebrations by taking away a good chunk of money. "There, that oughta shut the idiots up," you seem to be saying.
Well, one of your recalcitrant employees, the former Chad Johnson of the Cincinnati Bengals, has been especially flagrant in thumbing his nose at your behavioral rules. First, you said he couldn't put his nickname -"Ochocinko" on his uniform. Okay, Johnson said, No problem. I'll just have my name changed to that. And he did. Number 85 of the Bengals is now "Ochocinko." Several fines later, imposed for a variety of reasons, an official's call went against him and he jokingly offered the official in question a one dollar bill as a "bribe." Boom! That little joke - and it was obviously that - cost him $30,000.
And now - another $30,000 fine imposed for wearing a poncho and sombrero following a touchdown reception last week. And exactly what harm did that cause anyone?
Please, NFL power-brokers - LIGHTEN UP! The NFL does not stand for "No Fun League," despite your attempts to make it so. The players are like little kids who like to celebrate their achievements and have fun. I can see punishing players who taunt their opponents after they score, maybe, but what harm is caused by spiking the ball in triumph, or in any of Chad O's escapades?
If he scores against the Vikings this week, I hope he goes ahead with his promise to "blow" the horn on the Viking mascot's helmet. Fun!