Football is business, not familyBottom Highlights, Politically Aware Thursday, December 24th, 2015
Commentary: Politically Aware
The NFL has frequently demonstrated its ability to selectively black out a broadcast in San Diego, so I have a request: Could they please prevent their “Football is Family” commercials from being seen in our media market?
You’ve seen them – families receiving and wearing branded sweaters and baby clothes, typically from competing teams, usually near holiday decorations. In any circumstance, the campaign would be a little sappy for a league whose games feature nearly as many injuries as points. In cities that aren’t sure they will have a team in 2016, the ads are downright cruel.
It is increasingly clear that the NFL believes football is not for San Diego families. Not for the families who deck out multiple generations in Chargers jerseys every week. Not for the families that have formed at tailgates every home game. Not for the families of choice that root together in their neighborhood, or “family,” sports bar. Why not? Even if our families are willing to pay for a stadium, we can’t prove it until June, and that could delay revenue from an L.A. team.
When faced with the idea that it’s all about the money, the NFL typically trots out one of their ownership families with long term commitments to a city: the Rooneys in Pittsburgh or the Fords in Detroit. Let’s see how long that lasts. The Edward Jones Dome, where the St. Louis Rams play their home games, was built in 1995. Rams owner Stan Kroenke is threatening to move to L.A. unless, and possibly even if, the people of St. Louis (and fellow NFL owners) pony up cash for a new one. Why would things be different when Heinz Field in Pittsburgh (2001) or Ford Field in Detroit (2002) turn 20? Both cities are smaller than San Diego, and let us remember that Art Modell was a Cleveland institution until he saw more money for his family in Baltimore.
The only families that football really cares about are those of the 32 owners. Even the one(s) left seatless in this round of L.A. musical chairs will benefit from the additional revenue, just as they have all cashed in by delaying their decision until they got a full season of spending from families in the soon to be shafted cities.
Football is business, not family. If the NFL can get away with commercials suggesting otherwise, fine. Just black them out in San Diego, Oakland and Saint Louis, where it amounts to taunting, which is a penalty by NFL rules. As excessive celebration also draws a flag, please limit the inevitable ESPN “Los Angeles Decision Announcement Special” to cities that still have teams.
Assuming we lose the Chargers, my family would rather watch an old Padres game.
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