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NFL in Crisis

There are all kinds of discussions about the various incidents occurring in the NFL. Even those who are not football fans are part of the talk of the aggressive and inappropriate incidents that are occurring with major athletic figures, from college to professional teams. Everyone is feeling the affects. Has the NFL allowed a culture to develop that has grown out of control? Does the money we spend on football propagate such aggression?


Most of the people with whom I speak are angry and or disgusted by the NFL and its culture. Where do you stand? I feel it is never going to change if, as fans, we need wait for the American people to stop buying NFL football tickets! We need to look at what we can do to make a change from the outside of the culture. While the NFL works on corrections inside its society. Further efforts need to be made since our college students are also being affected as they are groomed for the NFL! The level of mishaps with football players has gotten to a point far beyond that which could be attended to only by the NFL. What can we do?


There is a culture that exists in the NFL. There is aggression in that culture. There has to be. But does it have to be shown in a manner that is against family, teammates, peers, and society? NO. Everyone has anger and everyone has experienced aggression in some way. Somehow, however, the NFL seems to express the aggression in various venues: field, home, public. Why is this increasingly occurring? What could be a solution to this crisis in the NFL?


Well, first, we could urge the NFL to bring in people with innovative ideas as to how to curb the display or use of aggression so that it is expressed on the field. This, in and of itself, could have a significant impact. In graduate school, I did a practicum as a sport psychologist. I developed a way to use physical training to teach athletes how to funnel their aggression onto the field or court or ice. I continue to use that methodology with clients I see privately today. I am sure a similar methodology could be implemented with success. Add to that some research on the affects and it could be highly successful.


A second idea (please excuse the sarcasm in this one) is that we could entertain the idea that our professional football players are to be held at a significant level of integrity and performance. Along with that, the NFL would have to learn how to not be afraid of firing those players who are not a part of the new NFL culture. We know that in business, employees who we cannot train to be a part of the culture are dismissed. Furthermore, it’s always the greatest gift to the employee who gets dismissed and to the culture of the business when that person is allowed to move on.


There was a time in professional sports when our players were our heroes. I don’t want to get sidetracked, but in our culture we seem to have gotten to a place where we have no more heroes. The bad guy wins! That’s not a hero. So is it a wonder that our athletes have lost sight of being a hero? This is yet a third area that all of us can help the NFL make a change for the better.


A fourth idea is to take those retired players who are of solid integrity, values, and morality — the heroes — and create a mentoring of the younger players. Younger players meaning anyone still playing. Then, over time, the upper players really could be held to a higher level of integrity and behavior by the culture itself. The more senior players need to be bringing in the new players and grooming them to be pillars of our society.


I think if the above ideas were put into motion we would have less bullying that crosses boundaries. We would still have the NFL initiating the new players in their own way but it wouldn’t cross such significant personal and financial boundaries. It would be more targeted and healthy. An initiation process needs to be a part of the NFL. The NFL is not an easy culture. So to be a part of that culture or that society, the new players must be initiated. Initiation just doesn’t have to be crossing boundaries of personal rights, human rights, and financial responsibility.


Our players need to learn personal responsibility, social responsibility, and financial responsibility. That needs to be from the family of the NFL and fans are a part of that family. As fans and as Americans I believe it is our responsibility to open up our voice! I do not feel it is productive to complain and increase the negative focus by using judgments etc. Instead we need to be supportive of the reformation and reparation of the NFL and its culture. Let’s stand strong to support positive growth. Let’s stand strong and let them know that the more they move towards a healthier environment the more we will support our players and our NFL. They have given us decades of fantastic entertainment and we have enjoyed it, we have profited from it and we have looked forward to it. We owe it to them to help them at this time of need and abuse.


I truly look forward to hearing your comments and ideas for the healing of the NFL.


1 Comment »

  1. I think that this is a monster that we have created. These men make such huge amounts of money and are so idolized that they think they are above everyone else. Some of these players are making more than $20,000,000 annually. with an average salary of $4,300,000! That’s an absurd amount of money for anyone to be paid for anything! It’s no wonder that they become abusive; they’re used to being treated like gods. If they get into trouble they can buy their way out. I understand that it’s a high stress, competitive and dangerous job, but it’s one of their choosing. Other people in similar jobs make only a tiny fraction of what these players make and it’s time for it to be equalled out.

    That being said, I’m not really sure that abusive behavior and bullying is any more rampant in the NFL than it is anywhere else. It’s just higher profile. Since these men are public figures, however, and have a strong influence on our youth, they do need to be held to a higher standard of behavior. Until the worshipping stops, I don’t see that happening. I think all of your ideas are spot on, but I don’t know how they are going to be implemented.

    Comment by Jeanne Megel —

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Kristen Bomas, PA
398 Camino Gardens Blvd., Suite 104
Boca Raton, Fl 33432


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