It’s always been about checks and balances.
For decades, the NFL has ruled American sports as the biggest and baddest league in the land. And for the last four years, Trump has ruled over the Republican Party as the smallest and dumbest leader in the land. And in his time in the Oval Office, the NFL has found itself a constant target of the “leader” of the “free” world. Ever since his bid to buy the Buffalo Bills failed and he “won” the case against the league that he thought would lead to a merger between the USFL and NFL and didn’t (all it led to was a whopping $3 settlement), Trump has found a way to needle the league at every turn.
From calling Colin Kaepernick and players kneeling “sons of bitches,” to encouraging the league to play during a global pandemic — despite the fact that he’s the main reason that somewhere close to 215,000 Americans have died due to his gross negligence when it comes to containing the virus — the President has been a thorn in Roger Goodell’s side for a long time.
But, like clockwork, in a very cruel, and somewhat just way, the coronavirus decided it was time to show Trump who was in control, as the president contracted the virus and turned the White House into ground zero.
As I said, checks and balances.
Democracy and football are two things that are inherently American. And at this moment, both of them are being negatively affected by COVID-19. Election Day and Super Bowl Sunday are two days that transcend race, creed, religion, gender, and political affiliation. And right now, it seems like we’re destined to experience an Election Day and Super Bowl Sunday unlike any other.
Early voting lines are already looking like this in some parts of the country.
While the NFL schedule is in a constant state of flux and looks like this:
As Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings are taking place, this picture alone speaks to how many people, particularly people in power, still aren’t taking COVID-19 seriously.
That sentiment is also alive and well in the NFL.
“We’re getting calls where guys are asking if it’s OK if their wives can invite people over for Bible study,” a source within the NFLPA told Deadspin.
Last week we watched as the brazen stupidity of the Tennessee Titans unfolded, as they repeatedly broke protocols just to get some workouts in at a local high school. The NFLPA source also confirmed to Deadspin that DeMaurice Smith, the NFLPA’s executive director, implored players not to workout in groups larger than 10 before training camps began. It was also confirmed to Deadspin that during multiple calls between players and the union, not only was the flawed system the league has put in place agreed on by all parties, but that many players and their families still aren’t taking social distancing seriously.
So, here we are. Three weeks from Election Day and six weeks into an NFL season that feels like it’s going to be being scheduled in pencil instead of ink the rest of the way.
Even with a seven-month head start, the NFL still found a way to blow a 28-3 lead on COVID-19. And when you think about it, it’s eerily similar to Trump, who, as Bob Woodward revealed to us, also blew a massive lead on COVID, since he knew how dangerous the virus was back in February, yet chose to downplay its severity.
This is what happens when rich white Republican men are in charge of two of America’s most powerful entities: the White House and the NFL.
Unfortunately, this time the checks and balances that are ensuring that too much power isn’t concentrated into the hands of certain individuals may wind up being a deadly virus that could have been possibly prevented.
And in a moment in which anti-maskers are dedicated to the continued spreading of the virus, and white male terrorists planned to kidnap a governor because she didn’t open up their state fast enough, it isn’t shocking that football players can’t even abide by the rules long enough to collect their million-dollar game checks.
2020 has become a year in which many have been granted 20/20 vision when it comes to finally seeing this country for what it really is.
And while it’s a sad sight to see, this is America.