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home : sports : local April 28, 2016

8/6/2014 6:00:00 AM
NFL given one-year suspension

Shawn Byrne
Miner Staff Reporter

Cutting ties. It's never easy, but when the proverbial straw breaks the camel's back, it has to be done.

That's where I'm at with the National Football League. It's time to put away my Arizona Cardinals T-shirt, cap, poster and calendar. No cheerleading uniform for my daughter. The NFL is officially on a one-year suspension and if certain corrections aren't made, that may be extended.

The burden of being an NFL fan first started to weigh on me with the league's blatant disregard for the research that had been done on the correlation between playing football and head injuries. Knowing the NFL kept quiet about how head injuries were affecting the players as reported by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru in their book "League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions, and the Battle for Truth," gave me a queasy feeling.

I loved watching the NFL, and though I knew it was wrong to support the league because of this, I kept doing so. It wouldn't be the last slap to my face by the league.

I recently wrote a column about the Washington Not-Palefaces needing to change its name. I received plenty of feedback on the subject, most of it against the need for a name change. I'm still sticking to my guns on that one. I just can't wrap my head around a white American allowing the R....... term to escape from their lips without any sense of repulsion.

I put this on the lap of the NFL because the league has defended the use of that term. The best idea I've heard on the subject came from ESPN's Keith Olbermann. He suggested that Washington change its name to the Americans and keep the logo. By doing this, the team would be heroes. I like it.

I was pushed over the edge this past week with the Ray Rice suspension. Rice was suspended two games for violating the league's personal conduct policy after knocking his then-fiancé, Janay Palmer, unconscious and then dragging Palmer out of an elevator at an Atlantic City, N.J., casino.

I may be accused of comparing apples to oranges here, but I don't think so. The NFL suspended Cleveland Brown wide receiver Josh Gordon a full season for smoking the weed. Pot is legal in two states and will be in many more soon enough.

The NFL is telling me that a chronic user of marijuana is worse than a woman-hitter. The league says that only a two-game suspension is called for if a player drinks a fifth of Jim Beam and beats up a woman, but another player enjoying a joint during his time off can lead to a year. Really?

I could set aside some principles for the head injury and Washington Not-Palefaces issues, but the Rice straw has broken my back.

This personal decision of mine will bear zero influence on the NFL coverage in the Miner. Obviously, I'll have to follow it because of my job.

But other than that, I'm cutting ties.

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