Being a sports fan in general is all about suspending disbelief. My favorite sports memory of all time was when I went to the “Snow Bowl.” The Patriots defeated the Raiders in a snowstorm on a last second kick to go to the Super Bowl. A Super Bowl they would end up winning in an upset. I know what you’re thinking, “That’s called the ‘Tuck Rule Game’ you infantile, yet talented writer.” See I know that everyone outside of New England calls that game the “Tuck Rule” game but I ignore that along with everyone else back home. We call it the “Snow Bowl” because that’s our team and the memory makes us all feel good about who we cheer for and who we spent that moment with. We then move on with our lives very happily disregarding Spygate (which is so well-known that the word “Spygate” doesn’t come up as being misspelled in auto-correct) and cheering for a guy like Belichick who, if he ever saw me dying in a fire, would slow down only long enough to roast a marshmallow. The thing is, every other fan base does the same thing. We all suspend belief long enough to think that our team goes out on the field or rink or court to represent our town because we maybe stand for something better than the town a few hours away. As if it’s Medieval Times and they’re knights defending the honor of their respective kingdoms (now THOSE guys are the real deal). That’s insane. These guys go out there for themselves, not you; because it’s their jobs and they have kids and multiple wives and coke habits to support. So if I’m willing the suspend disbelief long enough to think that this team means anything to me or my city, then of course I’m willing to conveniently forget that there’s no possible way someone who’s 265 lb can naturally run a 4.3 40m, or what they might do to another human on the field.
We know this — if we really think about it — but we really don’t care because the sport is entertaining and there’s nothing we can do about it.
Hey ESPN, it’s an administrative problem, not a societal one. If I lived in ancient Rome and I knew gladiators were fighting to the death in the coliseum that week, I’d be the first guy there, grilling tiger steaks at the tailgate, and you’d have a hot Erin Andrews look-a-like covering it all. We seek out the violent, animalistic nature in anything. If it’s a football game, or a new Die Hard movie, or UFC nine-hundred, it sells, and we buy it. There is no confusion that football is a violent sport, and that it can hurt people. There is no confusion that most, if not all, are trying in any way they can to get an edge because millions of dollars are on the line. Contrary to what you might try to sell us as a “national conversation,” we are not arguing these points. Yes, you’re a news driven channel but you seem to make these people talk about steroids and concussions in such a dire way that I feel like I’m wrong for not feeling the same. And yet, the NFL just grew revenue in 2012 for the millionth straight year. Clearly we, as a nation, don’t care. So the change has to come from the inside, from the top down, from NFL administration – not Stephen A. Smith and the white guy. And not from me. So, please, ESPN, I’m begging you, show some sports. I want my sports memories with blissful ignorance, I want my “Snow Bowl,” and I don’t care about concussions and PEDs.