Wednesday, September 03, 2014

The Obvious, Rehashed

We restate the obvious as a public service announcement to those of you who still labor under the delusion that the National Football League is an aspirational meritocracy that exists solely to bring joy to the worthy. To wit:


It is not "a privilege" to play in the NFL. Men play in the NFL because they are exceedingly good at the things the NFL wants them to do, which allows them to perform those tasks well in public to entertain us and make their employers billions of dollars. The talent is the game, but individual talents are infinitely fungible, and ultimately in the eyes of the league about as privileged as a tire. Sure, you can get a high-priced, really good tire that you can tell your friends you bought and have them ooh and ah over, but sooner or later that tire is going to get worn down, removed and turned into a swing. See also: the end of Donovan McNabb's career.

Saying "it is a privilege to play in the NFL" is merely using bad logic to cover a host of morally questionable decisions. As you read this, roughly 2/3 of the sports talk radio hosts in America are moralizing over Josh Gordon's case and talking about how it's a privilege to play in the NFL and he shouldn't have taken it for granted by standing near someone who was smoking marijuana and taking the wrong cough syrup. Gordon's recent suspension for 16 games (or "8 Ray Rices", if you're playing the home game) for marijuana use was a perfect storm of bad policy, bad luck, and the NFL's overweening arrogance. Gordon's randomly chosen "A" sample was 1/10th the level the US Army tests for; his "B" sample was less than that. If they'd simply switched which one was tested first, then Gordon's not suspended. There's no "privilege" there.

Moralizing over Josh Gordon's "bad choices" as done by radio hosts whose professional peers do things like send dick pics, carry on affairs, make public statements of support for domestic abuse, DUIs and suchlike is tacky and annoying, especially when done at high volume. Off the high horse, Spartacus.

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