Play Ball or Else, an NFL Story.
Football is a game, but the NFL is a corporation (granted, a tax-exempt, multi-billion dollar corporation, but that’s a different article for a different time). This corporation has employees, like every other. The main issue is that those employees are the players (along with the coaches and other personnel, but we’re focusing on the players for this one). It can be hard to divorce our views on these individuals as players vs. employees. Clay Matthews is not an independent contractor, he is employed by the NFL, and therefore must abide by the rules of the NFL, as arbitrary and stupid as they are.
Believe me, I will never be the guy that stands up for the NFL or Roger Goodell. I think the NFL is a corrupt organization and Goodell is a power hungry puppet, but those opinions don’t mean that the players in the NFL should be exempt from following the rules, even if those rules are created and amended at Goodell’s whim.
Is it bullshit that Matthews, Julius Peppers, James Harrison and Mike Neal should have to debunk doping allegations to avoid a suspension (allegations that are apparently not even tied to a positive drug test)? Especially when those allegations are coming from an Al-Jazeera report (the same “news outlet” that tried this doping allegation on Peyton Manning and had it come up as bullshit)? It is absolute bullshit and everyone with half a brain knows it. This comes weeks after a domestic violence accusation against Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott. Elliot had to answer to that, and from all accounts it sounds like that will blow over as a jilted ex-girlfriend, because that’s NFL protocol, that’s part of being a high-paid, high-profile athlete. Those named in the Al-Jazeera report should be (and are being) held to that same standard. It’s like the lessons we were taught in our youth: when someone asks a question in regards to an allegation, you answer. If you don’t answer, you look guilty, plain and simple.
I don’t know if those four players named had anything to do with performance enhancing drugs, and I frankly don’t care if they did or not, but when your boss asks you to pee in a cup, you pee in a cup. When your boss asks you if you did something wrong, you answer, simple as that. It’s part of the contract you sign to be employed by that company, and when you sign contracts as rich as football players do, I find it hard to sympathize.