From the Sidelines

Luckily, NFL solved all its problems so it can focus on Brown’s shoes

29 APR 2016: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft.The NFL Draft is being held at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)
Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire

You have to hand it to the NFL. Roger Goodell and his jack-booted thugs know how to identify and eradicate potential issues facing the league. Something pops up that threatens the well-being of their precious product and they jump right to it without any hesitation.

Gotta protect “The Shield,” you know?

Case in point: Antonio Brown and those troublesome shoes of his.

Yes, that right, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ star receiver thinks that he can just run around wearing whatever he wants on his feet, rules be damned. Well, think again.

In Week 1, Brown wore baby-blue cleats and the NFL fined him $9,000. In Week 3, he wore blue again, and these ones had pictures of his children’s faces on them. Again, he was fined, and these penalties made sense. You have to wear shoes that match your team’s base colors, after all, and blue is not part of the Steelers’ scheme.

In Week 4, he got the message and went with black-and-gold Arnold Palmer shoes — and he got away with it. This week, though, the NFL finally had enough of the shenanigans. Brown wore black-and-gold shoes honoring Muhammad Ali. What a rebel. What’s next, socks with sandals?

Actually, the Ali shoes didn’t look bad. With the stripes, they even matched those hideous bumble bee jerseys the Steelers wore on Sunday. Not so fast, though, said the NFL. Not only was Brown approached on the field and threatened with a fine, he was told he would have to change those shoes before he was allowed to return to the game. Because black-and-gold Ali shoes not only harmed the integrity of Sunday’s game, they were clearly a danger to the very fabric of America, and the NFL would never stand for that.

Luckily, the NFL has already handled all its other pressing issues, right? I mean, just for fun, let’s look at all the other problems that have been solved and allowed the league to throw its resources at Brown and his footwear.

Concussions/player safety: Cam Newton was finally forced to miss some action after taking perhaps 10 too many blows to the head. Never mind that nobody did anything when the Broncos repeatedly treated his melon like a piñata earlier this season. Never mind that the helmet-to-helmet hit that forced him out was ruled “legal.” (And you thought helmet-to-helmet hits were illegal! Ha!)

They sat him down Sunday, so what do you want? Nothing to see here people. The concussions issue is under control!

Fan fights at games: There is no better way to show your child how to survive in life than to take them to an NFL game, let them watch people booze it up in the parking lot for hours before kickoff, then go into the stadium and watch those same people pummel anyone wearing an opposing jersey. And if there isn’t anyone nearby wearing an opposing jersey, any person who doesn’t quite look right will do.

Life is tough, so you may as well show your children how to take care of themselves at a young age. Luckily the NFL has allowed this to take place, and has guaranteed security will probably arrive within 5-10 minutes to break anything up. You know – before things get too serious.

Player discipline: Clearly, the NFL is all over this. Tom Brady just served a four-game suspension for perhaps, maybe deflating footballs. It was never really proven, but that’s beside the point. The point is they were ON IT.

And clearly the punishments for more serious crimes like drunk driving, beating people up and illegally owning guns are working as a deterrent, because according to one source, only four players have been arrested for those kinds of offenses since the season began – five weeks ago. Not too shabby!

Diversity in hiring practices: Every year, Dr. Richard Lapchick of The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports issues a report studying hiring practices across the major U.S. sports. This year, the report gave the NFL an “A” grade for minority hiring, and a “C+” for gender equity in its hiring.

Sure, you might point that the C+ is the worst of any U.S. sports league, but don’t forget that a C+ is very nearly a B, and a B is pretty darn good. Besides, Goodell says he wants to extend the “Rooney Rule” to apply to women. So you see, problem solved!

So it certainly makes one feel all warm and fuzzy inside to know that the NFL has completely solved problems like (1) keeping players safe from each other, (2) keeping fans safe from each other and (3) keeping fans safe from players – not to mention increasing diversity in its hiring practices.

With all of those issues taken care of, it means the league can properly dedicate its resources to the real problems that threaten to ruin America’s favorite sport and all that it stands for – problems like Antonio Brown’s shoes.


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