Peter King Blames Dirty Plays On Players Because He’s A Moron
Please excuse Sports Illustrated's Peter King for his crankiness -- he's constantly in a tremendous amount of pain from carrying all that water for the NFL.
On Tuesday, King posted an "Open Letter To Players" on his MMQB site, admonishing them for their unsportsmanlike conduct, unprofessionalism and intentionally violent play. Citing the number of wholesome family gatherings that had their evenings ruined after witnessing some five or so "dirty plays" in the AFC Divisional Game, King clutched his pearls with one hand and used the other to wag his finger at those armor-clad ruffians on the field.
"This is what the Steelers and Bengals showed 27 million Americans about the great game of professional football. Your game. The game your coaches—from youth ball up to the NFL—have taught you to play fairly."
Fair? You want to talk about fairness in the National Football League? Really? Ok, where to start...
Besides the fact that King (once again) sounds like the NFL's shadow publicist as he tries to fix the "on-field product" by chastising the players into behaving in a more consumer-friendly manner, he's wrong. Not about dirty play being naughty -- it's undeniably gruesome/immoral/hard to watch. He's wrong for blaming the players for scratching and clawing their way to success at any cost. They're doing what they've been programmed to do since birth: win football games. Except unlike their experiences in Pop Warner, high school or even college, there's the looming possibility that these guys won't have a job if they fail.
That possibility doesn't exist in the other major American sports, which is partly why there are fewer "dirty plays." Job security tends to mellow people out.
King ignores the reality that in such a results-driven, what-have-you-done-for-me-lately profession it's a miracle every play doesn't end in an eye gouge and three nut stomps. Hell, maybe it does -- but I wouldn't blame them for doing it. They're nefarious actions are motivated by the same cut-throat mentality that drives traders at UBS to fix their mistakes by doubling down with even riskier trades. When you're skating on thin ice, you frantically grab the person next to you when you think you might to fall in. NFL players are constantly a few bad plays away from losing the only thing they know how to do -- and King wants to blame them for acting desperately, not the system for making them desperate.
Then NFL encourages dirty play by putting players backs up against the wall with a shitty Collective Bargaining Agreement that affords owners the opportunity reap windfall profits on the backs of shitty, unguaranteed contracts. The NFL uses footage of "bone-crushing hits" as advertisements for their product, then publically punishes players when those hits cross some inexact threshold for brutality in the most pious way possible. They want violence. They need violence. They just want it on the cheap and in a family friendly way.
Peter King shouldn't expect a bloodsport like football to stay civil all the time, nor should he blame the disenfranchised employees -- who risk their brain health to bring it to us -- when a game gets out of hand. If you want to stand up for "Americans," Peter, why don't you go to bat for the guys on the field, like Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier, whom you chided for successfully stopping Bengals running back Gio Bernard with the crown of his helmet instead of employing a riskier arm tackle. Sure, it's illegal, but when you're responsible for a missed tackle that results in a 20-yard touchdown scamper in a playoff game, the NFL doesn't think twice about cutting your ass for being soft. Why don't you direct your ire at the impossible lose/lose situation these 24-year-old kids are forced into?
Or why not point that condescending finger of yours back at those families whose sensibilities you're so valiantly defending. Couldn't you blame them for their sense of entitlement? Because let's be frank -- anyone who requires such a specific amount of immense violence in their entertainment, but gasps in horror when that violence exceeds what they arbitrarily deem "a reasonable amount of violence," needs some life stuff explained.
"I wondered why, after the ugly and filthy Odell Beckham Jr. hit on Josh Norman a few weeks ago, when Beckham took a running start and battering-rammed his head into Norman’s head, this keep happening," King wrote.
"It shouldn’t, but it does. It’s shameful, but it continues. It could someday kill the game, but your peers, few though they may be, keep playing this way."
Ya, either that or ignorance.
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