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Volume 24 No. 112
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NFL Continues To Deal With Weighty Off-Field Issues Unseen In Other Sports

The NFL is in the news cycle for some "pretty serious topics these days, extending beyond football: concussions and CTE; domestic violence; police brutality; and social inequality," according to Ben Volin of the BOSTON GLOBE. They are "not easy subjects to tackle -- ones that no other professional sports league deigns to address." However, the NFL’s words "don’t always match its actions." As what has been seen recently, the league often "says one thing but does another." When it comes to "racial inequality, concussions, and domestic violence, the league's responses always seem to revolve around the same theme -- covering its own posterior" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/10). In DC, Jerry Brewer wrote under the header, "I Have Loved Football For Years, But This NFL Season Is Making Me Queasy." The issues impacting the league are "vast and diverse." They include the NFL’s "ongoing failure to commit to a more responsible way to do objective research and protect its players from the effects of concussions and brain injuries caused by playing football." Meanwhile, there is "limited resources and lack of compassion given to retired athletes who wrecked their bodies to provide entertainment." Other issues include the overall NFL "ambivalence toward its players’ legitimate concerns about equality and social justice," as well as the "confusing and contradictory way that the league disciplines its players." Brewer: "The NFL doesn't respect humanity. Not like it should" (WASHINGTON POST, 9/9).

BECOMING A GUILTIER PLEASURE? THE ATHLETIC's Lisa Olson wrote under the header, "Of Course We Still Crave Football, But It's Getting Tougher And Tougher To Ignore The Brutality." It is becoming "more difficult to admit being a fan of the NFL." Beyond the league’s "inability to impose discipline with a little more sense than an authoritarian dictatorship, and beyond its ham-fisted juggling of social justice issues, there is a very large reality that my guilty pleasure is borderline obscene." There are "plenty of fans who today bemoan the NFL’s nanny state, its careful coddling of quarterbacks and kickers, but it’s no longer vogue to express such blood thirst in public" (THEATHLETIC.com, 9/10).