5/12/14

The NFL Draft . . .

Is it over? Is it REALLY over? Can I come out from under the bed now? Is it safe to leave to the storm cellar? Do you PROMISE we're done with the NFL draft for a while?

Because for the last four months all I've been hearing is Johnny Football, Michael Sam, Scouting Day, Combine, and other speculation on who will be the next great criminal to make millions of dollars a year while their social and cultural transgressions are ignored OR who will be the next man to give his body, mind, and quality of life for you fans to scream and yell in support of until his body catches up with the abuse and he suddenly "stinks on ice."

If you've not yet figured this out - I hate football. I hate all sports (beyond bocce, mini golf, and sh*t talking) but football has a special place far, far, far away from my heart and as our culture gets more and more obsessed with the game I get grumpier and grumpier and more frustrated. My beloved NPR was even covering the draft by Wednesday morning (and not just my favorite sports curmudgeon Frank Deford). It is horrifying to me.

And here's the reason - for those not sure - why America "cares" about the NFL Draft. No. It is not because you want to know the stars of tomorrow. You could read that in the paper a week later and lose none of the "interest" - the draft itself is huge because it is human drama at its finest. Here, statistically, are poor, black young men who have beat the odds to make it from "there" to Radio City Music Hall and they have MILLIONS and MILLIONS of dollars coming to them if they are taken on opening night just for having their name called and any man taken in the four day "event" can and likely will make millions before their careers end (statistically within seven years - I'd like to point out). We love the notion of a "favorite" (like Johnny Manziel - who football fans have endlessly speculated about for two years now . . . and the speculation will continue for years and years just more cynically moving ahead). We like being "surprised" when Jadeveon Clowney is (who has had his "heart" questioned by pundits including men who are also former NFL greats that have been arrested for domestic abuse but championed by an NFL/Super Bowl MVP who won both awards AFTER being involved in a double homicide).

I won't even get started on the Michael Sam speculation over and celebration of being drafted (Bottom line - his sexual orientation is and should be seen as irrelevant - no one, to the best of my knowledge - has ever had sex of any orientation while playing football (they are too busy trying to kill each other). Every person in an NFL locker room has baggage, challenges, differences, and unique traits - if him loving and laying with another man is a distraction or problem in ANY way chalk it up to one more reason we should all loathe football.).

I know, I know. I'm in the minority here on not caring about football but in the majority on not caring about the draft but I just want it to stop. Let's NOT talk about football for 48 whole hours. Please?