Good luck, D. You’re gonna need it.
Well, Rog, here we are again. And once again, it’s your fault.
At some point, Rog, you’ll realize that the reason you keep getting excoriated in the press and, more importantly, in locker rooms throughout the league you administer, is because you keep compounding your problems by trying to profit from them.
To preface, running back DeAngelo Williams and defensive end Cameron Heyward have lost parents to cancer. In the case of Williams, his mother succumbed to breast cancer, which, coincidentally, happens to be the very sort of cancer the NFL is currently collecting donations to fight, including auctioning pink NFL gear. The proceeds supposedly are channeled directly to the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) CHANGE program which, as some have noted, does not support breast cancer research and enforces outdated – and presumably useless – screenings. It’s also been determined that the NFL’s overall contribution to ACS, despite annual total earnings of over $10 billion, pales in comparison to other corporate entities that regularly contribute.
It’s a profit-making venture, to be sure, but that’s what you’re best at, isn’t it, Rog?
But I digress. Let’s talk about Heyward.
Even though you come across as a neophyte and ignorant of your employer’s history, Rog, I’m sure you recall Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, who played various roles in various backfields for eleven years and is fondly remembered by most fans for his sense of humor, his toughness, and his unique size and skills at the position. Heyward was the perfect ambassador for your predecessor, as he appeared in several ad campaigns and gave the NFL exactly what it needed – character.
Heyward passed away in 2006 at the tragically young age of 39, leaving behind a wife and three kids, including middle child Cameron. “Cam” colloquially opted to write “Iron Head” on his eyeblack strips for the past few games in memoriam, prompting the league to fine him $11,000 for what they flimsily deemed to be an equipment violation. Reminder to those that don’t know what eyeblack strips are – they’re less than an inch in diameter, and they’re worn under the eyes, which are protected by a facemask at minimum, and often a visor. Heyward’s moniker was barely readable at a range of six inches.
It’s currently being reported that former Bengals linebacker Devon Still wore labeled eyeblack all last season, Rog. You reportedly didn’t fine him. Yet here you are demanding five figures from Heyward. I suspect you’re now going to retroactively fine Still for supporting his daughter’s well-documented fight against pediatric cancer. It would certainly be in character for you.
Are you really this petty, Rog? Never mind. I know the answer to that one.
And then there’s Williams, who, as noted above, lost his mother to the disease that your league is currently trying to create awareness of. Williams did not incur an equipment violation – yet – because he properly approached the league and asked if it would be acceptable to wear the NFL-mandated pink gear all season long instead of solely in October, which is the league’s designated cancer awareness month.
You denied him.
Can you or any of your muzzled cronies explain that one, Rog? Yes, the guy has personal reasons for inquiring about this, but he’s proposing using your league-mandated equipment and furthering the awareness cause. It’s free promotional activity for a worthy cause (although, courtesy of articles like the one linked above, your bastardization of the cause itself is enough to give anyone pause about donating), and it can only serve to make you look good. Granted, the pink gear is an absolute eyesore. But to the unenlightened public, it’s a symbol of good, of something that fans can tangibly get behind and uniformly support. In the face of that sort of goodwill, which your office has lately been bereft of, how could Williams’ proposal possibly be rejected?
Never mind. I know the answer, because it’s the same as your answer to everything. It’s about money. If the league (meaning you) can’t collect on gear that you initially sponsored, then it stands to reason that it’s a violation in your eyes.
In Heyward’s case, he’s not even proposing using your gear, so you’re fining him to recoup something. Pretty damned abhorrent, Rog. Might be among the lowest things you’ve done, and that’s more than a mouthful.
You won’t be held accountable for it, as you haven’t effectively had to own up to anything, including your bumbling around the Deflategate nonsense, your egregious handling of the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson cases, and your malfeasance in Bountygate. You’re building quite a resume of subterfuge and untrustworthiness, Rog. Bully for you.
And yet, you’ve still got us over a barrel, because we’re still watching. We support the sport, because we’re fans, and we have little recourse beyond turning off our televisions. So, naturally, you can run your little scam programs masquerading as honest charities, and we won’t complain, because, on the surface, it appears to be right and just.
Right and just…two words I never hear associated with you, Rog.