I don’t watch football.
That may sound weird coming from a former collegiate player and pro prospect, but the truth is that I stopped watching football almost 13 years ago when I realized I was investing too much of my emotional energy into it.
Plus, if you watch a Sunday full of games, you’re spending up to 12 hours inside, and I decided I’d rather get out and do something than sit on a couch or in a sports bar watching OTHER men accomplish things.
However, that doesn’t mean I don’t have an appreciation for the sport or that I judge those that watch it like it’s a religion.
While my playing days have been over for the better part of 25 years, I can still remember what it feels like to be a part of a team that is unified by a single goal: winning.
I won’t lie…
There are times when I miss the violence of the collisions that I used to endure on the gridiron, and I can still get quite envious of those that get to play the sport.
I remember the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, and I can appreciate players getting to feels the highs and lows of the emotions the game always presents.
The Thrill Of Victory
So, when the New Orleans Saints recently beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, one of their division rivals, giving them the lead in the NFC South, I can totally understand why the players expressed that emotion in a locker room celebration.
They were happy.
Happiness is an emotion we’ve all felt at one time or another, so we can all understand the team wanting to express their feelings by singing, dancing, laughing, and clapping each other on the back for a job well done.
But there’s one problem…
Our entire world is operating under the shadow of a pandemic, and there are rules and protocols put in place to keep control…umm, I mean to keep people safe and keep infections down.
After beating the Buccaneers (Saints quarterback Jameis Winston’s former team) the team forgot about the heaviness of COVID-19 and didn’t put on their masks when they celebrated.
It’s a very human response, especially when you’re surrounded by men that you’ve just practiced with, traveled with, and gone to war with.
So, when videos started surfacing of people like Jameis Winston, coach Sean Payton, linebacker Demario Davis, and others celebrating the win without masks, the NFL head office came down on them like the Hammer of God.
The Price Of Happiness
How much did this celebration cost them?
Well, sources inside the NFL supposedly told ESPN that the League fined the team a whopping $500,000 and a 7th round draft pick.
That’s stiff, but it shows you how important optics are.
If the videos didn’t pop up, nobody in the NFL office would have been the wiser—but because somebody decided to record it on their phone and post to social media, the NFL had to make sure they showed the Liberals that they care about the pandemic.
That’s why they came down on the team so hard.
The Saints aren’t the only team to feel the heavy hand of the NFL during the pandemic.
Las Vegas Raiders (sounds VERY weird not saying “the Los Angeles Raiders”) were fined the same HUGE $500,000 penalty as well as a sixth-round pick.
This is still America, and we should have the right to make the decision as to whether or not we want to wear a mask.
However, it seems that sometimes, we don’t even live in America anymore.
We live in some limbo between democracy and socialism.
At least we have team sports, right?
“The most beautiful things are not associated with money; they are memories and moments. If you don’t celebrate those, they can pass you by.” – Alek Wek