November 09, 2007

The Vikings Are Assholes, Cont'd

I could understand the Red McCombs regime doing this, but the Wilfs? The Vikings took away a game check from wide receiver Troy Williamson this week, after he missed last week's game. Was it a drug suspension? Did he miss a team meeting? Just plain no-show the game? Not exactly- Williamson was attending the funeral of his grandmother, the woman who raised him.

Not only is this totally wrong and indefensible, but horrible PR as well. Just when, thanks to Purple Jesus, the Vikes were starting to get some of their first good press in the last five years. Not good Vikes, not good.

UPDATE: ShysterBall has a great take on this:

Say what you will about MLB's often contentious relationship with the players, but at least there's a history there -- recently anyway -- informed by two powerful entities battling on more or less equal terms. What's more, once those battles subside, the acrimony tends to be pushed to the background, and the relationship tends to be a typical employer-employee affair. The owners generally treat the players with respect, and people tend to approach their jobs and their personal lives like adults.

In contrast, the NFL treats its players like indentured servants who should thank ownership and the league at every turn for being allowed the privilege of sacrificing their bodies and long-term health for the current TV deal. Ownership can terminate contracts on a whim while the players are stuck. Fines are routinely levied in such a way as to constitute ex-post facto laws. Players were, until very, very recently, punished for missing optional offseason workouts (and some have suggested that they are still punished for it). The pension system is atrocious, post-career health care for on-field injuries is a joke, and the life expectancy for ex-NFL players only looks good when compared to professional wrestling and coal mining.

There may be reasons for all of this -- how Gene Upshaw still has a job I have no idea -- but it all leads to a sport that can only be enjoyed by totally ignoring everything that happens off the field. And as I think this blog established a long time ago, I'm not the sort of person who can limit my consumption of a sport to the game itself.

Obviously all professional sports are big businesses, but it seems as though only the NFL routinely goes out of its way to remind us of this, eschewing even the pretense that it's just a game and its players are out there to have some fun. And even if it is just a pretense, I think it's an important one.

Posted by Stephen Silver at November 9, 2007 05:10 PM

The fact you are failing to tell your readers however is that Williamson was MIA. He failed to call the Vikings all week to let them know he would miss the game. The Vikings had no contact with him all week. I know the guy has bad hands and all, but he should be able to pick up and hold on to a cell phone.

Posted by: at November 12, 2007 10:25 AM
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