Is it possible for an organization to have a worse P.R. week and a half than the NFL has? Multiple NFL players have committed or are accused of committing horrid abuse upon defenseless woman and children.
And we the fans (short for fanatic, unbalanced or obsessive behavior according to http://dictionary.reference.com/) continue to watch. In fact, according to onlyagame.wbur.org, NFL Ratings rose.
Should we football fans feel guilty for watching the NFL, despite the actions of the players and the league’s handling of these actions? Should we shrug and say we’re simply out of control fanatics who need our fix of football? I say no.
And that is not only because the team I root for – the Philadelphia Eagles – have begun the season 2-0 despite falling behind by 14 or more points in their first two games. This, by the way, is the first time that has ever occurred.
No, that is not the reason the NFL doesn’t suck. The NFL is a huge organization which includes nearly 1,700 players plus owners, coaches, trainers, and other personnel. As has been brought to light, some of those associated with the NFL have conducted themselves in ways that they should be ashamed of. However, as everyone has heard many times, don’t let one bad apple spoil the bunch.
Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Devon Still reminds us that not all NFL players are uncontrolled brutes.
Earlier this summer, Still’s 4-yeard old daughter was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. He says of his daughter, “She captured my world right from the start. Learning of her condition made me feel like I was hit by a train.” So, when Still was ultimately told he was cut by Bengals defensive line coach Jay Hayes, his heart was elsewhere. “Two months ago, this conversation would have been way harder, but right now it’s not hitting me that hard.” Still went on to recount his daughter’s battle with cancer. (By the way, Still played college football at Penn State. You see I do still notice these things about my alma mater. Check out my previous post on background of this issue – Figuring Out How to Be a Penn State Fan In the Post-Sandusky World)
In fact, Still had considered taking the year off to be with his daughter, whose chances for survival were 50/50. Can’t every parent relate to the dilemma he must have been feeling when it came to his career? Eventually, Still decided to continue his career at the urging of his family and friends, and because he needed health insurance.
Now that he was out of the league, he would not have health insurance. However, Bengals Coach Marvin Lewis had a plan for Still. “We wanted to make sure he was covered,” said Lewis. So, the team signed him to the practice squad, which meant he would have full health coverage. Still was grateful for the team’s loyalty. “I wanted to make the roster but I have a lot of stuff going on right now that I can’t give football 100 percent. They could have just washed their hands completely of it.”
Ultimately, Still was signed off the practice squad and back onto the team. This requires the player to travel and therefore be away from his daughter. Yet, the Bengals allow Still to travel home whenever he needed to in order to see his daughter. The team went one step further. The Bengals donated all the proceeds from sales of Still’s jersey to pediatric cancer research. Within 24 hours, the jersey became the fastest seller in team history. It’s no surprise then that Still says the outpouring from fans has helped him to cope.
There are many heroes in this story. Countless people have stepped up to support a 4-year old girl and the father who loves her.
No, the NFL does not suck.
To learn more about this story, check out the following videos.
Pic is Courtesy of Google Images
It must be football season, because we are awash with football blogs lately! I did see this story, and it was the sweetest thing I’ve read in a while. I didn’t realize that he was back on the team. How wonderful for him and his family.
I think it’s nice he’s back on the team but the rest of the story is more moving to me.
Really enjoyed this article. I was also struggling with the question you posed about whether we should continue to watch amid all the negativity. If you’re interested, here’s what I wrote about how that played out with my fantasy team: http://sleepingontheedge.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/domestic-violence-and-fantasy-sports/
Glad you liked the post. With all the negative publicity, it’s easy to forget that their are good stories also.
I’m hopping over to your article now.
You’re right. Bad actions by a few players should not taint the rest of the players. Thanks for highlighting a positive story. Goodness knows we could use one.
We really do need one. Good stories – whether in sports or any other walk of life – seem to get less attention than the bad stuff.
What a great story! I love when people step up and take care of each other!
I found it very moving.
Thank you for shedding light on a positive story from the NFL. Yes, the actions of the other two players are deplorable, but they are 2 people out of thousands. Their actions should be allowed to destroy all the good the NFL does for other organizations.
I agree with you 100%. If we judged every group by the actions of each individual in that group, the mass majority would fail that test.
It is a good story and worth noting. I think what is sad is that as a group NFL players have fewer incidents of criminality than society but because of their notoriety it is a focal point.
Not saying we should ignore it, but we need to look hard at the every day Joes too.
Is that a fact about the NFL player as a group have fewer incidents of criminality than society? I did not know nor would I have guessed that.
My husband walked by, saw the title of this post, and said, “Oh good! You’re coming around!” I just shook my head. Not me, sorry. Not a football fan, even though I’m surrounded by them, incl. an Eagles fan.
Is your husband an Eagles fan? Please send him my regards!
Vikings, actually, but our best friend is an Eagles fan. He’s the one my husband usually watches games with. His wife likes the Colts. I guess I’d have to go with the Chargers. But a part of me, if I were to care about football, still vaguely wonders how the Browns are doing. Okay, fine, and because my college roommate is so hardcore Steelers, I like to know when they fall on their faces. 🙂
But I should add that I do care about the Eagles because our friend does.
I think you have many teams you root for. That’s cool too. Maybe, you just enjoy watching the game.
Many teams noted there. I think you may be the biggest fan of them all!