Estimated Reading Time: 6 Minutes. Time flies when you’re having fun!

Guess what?! It’s time! The NFL has returned! All hail the king of sports. If you’ve been hanging around the Turf, you know that we’re big fans of football. We even have a fantasy football column called “The Sleeper Cell”. What I’m saying is, last night’s first preseason game is a big deal for us here. In honor of the return of America’s most popular sport, here are 7 things we know about the NFL today.

1. Colin Kaepernick is still unemployed.

(Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP)

Sorry, did you think that this was going to be a pro-NFL article? I admit, I led you down that path. But c’mon, if you’ve followed anything about the Turf, you know that I am not following it at the moment. I may or may not have pronounced that when I wrote this article:

So Colin Kaepernick. Man, let’s talk some stats. From the New York Daily News:

The last six games played in a 49ers uniform by new San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo:
67.4 completion percentage
1,565 total yards
Seven touchdowns and 5 interceptions
96.2 passer rating

The last six games played in a 49ers uniform by former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick:
65.1 completion percentage
1,305 total yards
Nine touchdowns and 2 interceptions
96.2 passer rating

Repeatedly people have said that Kaepernick is not as good as Garoppolo. Both backup quarterbacks posted very similar stat lines, and one of them took a team to the Super Bowl and two NFC Championships. But yeah, he’s unemployed because he’s bad, not because he protests. Right?

Get that fist a little higher there, buddy. (Sergio Estrada / USA TODAY Sports)

2. NFL Owners are still trash

Remember when this happened?

Sure the NFL walked it back almost immediately, but who cares. It was there. They could have either stood up for their players, or stood up for misinformation. Guess which one they chose?

3. The sport is literally killing its players

This is your brain on Football. (Scholastic Science World)

CTE is a major issue that the NFL needs to deal with. For those of you who don’t know, it turns out that heavy hits consistently over a long period of your life leads to serious brain issues. How serious? Well 111 former NFL player brains were donated to a study. 110 had CTE. Of course, the brains that were donated were probably from families worried about CTE, but still, the number is unsettling.

Where were most of the CTE-affected brains? In linemen. Every single play, linemen slam their heads together in a massive display of muscle and athleticism. Who’s surprised that over years of abuse, those linemen’s brains are irreparably damaged?

So how is the NFL responding to the issue? Well they announced a $100M commitment to brain injury research? That has turned into one study. That study? It’s on why jockeys don’t have higher rates of CTE. Yes, you read that right. The NFL is funding a study on jockeys, and it has nothing to do with football. Glad to see you guys are taking this seriously.

4. Football is no excuse for horrible behavior

(Shay Lari Hosain)

Lest you think I’m only here to hate on the owners, let’s talk about players for a second. Absorb the above graphic first. Then consider this. Josh Brown admitted in his journal that he abused his wife. She confirmed that she called the police on him over 20 times. He was given a one game suspension.

Because I care deeply about violence against women in the NFL and beyond, I can no longer continue to be part of a commission that is essentially a fig leaf.

Deborah Epstein for The Washington Post

That article is super damning. We shouldn’t reward the horrible behavior of men because they can run fast. Or jump high. The NFLPA is painting itself as victim to the greed of the owners. Well they are turning a blind eye to the victims of atrocities committed by their union members.

5. The Cheerleaders are treatedly abysmally

(Brad Mills / USA TODAY Sports)

While we’re on the subject of women who the NFL doesn’t care about, meet the Washington Redskins cheerleaders. From the New York Times:

One evening, at the end of a 14-hour day that included posing and dance practices, the squad’s director told nine of the 36 cheerleaders that their work was not done. They had a special assignment for the night. Some of the male sponsors had picked them to be personal escorts at a nightclub.

“So get back to your room and get ready,” the director told them. Several of them began to cry.

The New York Times

The Redskins response was…how do you say it…not good.

For those of you squinting because this image is horribly made for screens, I want to point you all to this choice quote.

We’ve heard very different first-hand accounts that directly contradict many of the details of the May 2 article.

Bruce Allen

Hey Bruce. One of the things that you should have learned from the #MeToo movement is to believe women, not immediately call into question their words.

Also, you may be thinking, “but Ned, things are changing, there are male cheerleaders now!” Whoopdy-freaking-doo. There should have been male cheerleaders long ago, but men want to ogle scantily clad women with pom poms. How do I know that the NFL fan won’t take them seriously and will probably ridicule them? Because it’s already happening.

6. Their Breast Cancer campaign is a f**king scam

(Clearity Foundation)

You know how in October the NFL turns really pink? It’s to raise money for Breast Cancer treatments and scans, as well as to raise awareness. Well it’s true, they do give money to foundations to raise money. The Clearity Foundation has a quote of $15M on their site. There’s one tiny problem with that statistic, though.

Only 5% of pink purchases made through the NFL go towards finding a cure.

So yes, $15 million is nothing to scoff at, and I’m sure it has done incredible amounts of good. But if the math says that the NFL has made around $300 million, then it just doesn’t look so great anymore.

Especially when you put into perspective that the NFL has a total profit goal of $25B by 2027. That $15M would be .0006% of their total yearly income, for those who are keeping score. Way to do the good work, guys.

7. They have draconian policies regarding Marijuana

(SportingNews.com)

Marijuana is on its way to being legal all over the country. It has been proven to be effective in places where other medicines have no been able to make a dent. Weed has been proven to be safer and less addictive than cigarettes or alcohol. It is a banned substance in the NFL.

Where does this come from? Well if we look at the Reefer Madness mentality, Marijuana will be the end of society. For generations we have demonized weed as a gateway drug (though it’s been proven to be nothing of the sort). It has also been used to do one other thing:

Disproportionately incarcerate African-American men.

I’m willing to bet that the NFL’s reasoning has more to do with what has caused police to arrest Black men for marijuana at a near 4-1 ratio to white men.

In Summation

Last year I was part of 6 different Fantasy Football leagues. I won 3 of them. This year I will take part in none. As I said in my Under the Lights article, I will come back to the sport if they show actionable steps towards addressing these problems. Thus far, like with Deborah Epstein above, all they’ve offered is lip service.

So what now?

The World Cup just happened and you know something, interest spiked in following the other football. We happen to have some incredible authors dedicated to what we Americans know as soccer. So I’m going to let them teach me, and it starts with an article recently posted by Turf Writer Ryan Matott.

So everyone, join me in supporting the Premier League. Let’s root for the MLS. Let’s make the beautiful game bigger in America, and let’s force the NFL to face it’s demons. Because I just can’t find any reason to support it right now.

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