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Greed, a lack of integrity and the NFL

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Published on: Thursday, September 27, 2012

By Brian J. Karem

Bread and Circuses.

If you understand the reference, then you can understand the complaints voiced this week from serious minded individuals who believe the replacement referees in the NFL are high wind in the trees when it comes to major news issues.

They would be mostly right. After all, the NFL’s replacement referees, while a silly debacle that certainly tarnishes the name of professional American football, matters little in the context of events going on around the globe.

When you have famine, war, pestilence, and global warming to think about, then replacement referees seem a little low on the totem pole.

Packer fans, of which I am one, are understandably upset that the replacement referees are in over their head and cost their favorite team a victory.

Again, on first glance, it seems much ado about nothing.

After all, it is just a game.

But the issue deserves a second glance at what it says about us as a country and a culture, for the integrity we bring to a game is a reflection of the integrity we bring to our lives.

In short, we’re short on integrity.

Fans are right to say there is little validity to the game when rules are not adhered to and saving a few bucks seems to mean more than the game itself.

That is the rub.

The almighty dollar once again speaks. The NFL hierarchy preaches that players and their representatives should “Respect the Shield” – meaning the NFL. But owners are free to play by their own rules.

It is again, the old clichéd “Golden Rule” twist; Those that own the gold make the rules.

As we all know, the ratings are still high and the owners can actually take some perverse pleasure in how we all tune in and make fun of the referees.

To the fans and followers of the game, this is serious business. Play fair. Don’t cheat. Everyone is treated the exact same way – blah, blah, blah.

To the owners, they have little care as long as the money keeps rolling in. It’s just another chapter in an ongoing novel.

Integrity means exactly nothing.

And that, my friends, is the story of America today.

If you think I’m wrong, please address the current political miasma we call the presidential race. It’s another sport, just as important to some as the NFL and more important to us in fact, but we treat it the same way.

The almighty dollar rules and buys wonderful attack ads where the two candidates can twist every little word or nuance into something diabolical to be used against their opponent.

Facts are hard to find when they’ve all been sugar-coated, twisted, and enhanced.

Where’s the integrity?

The fact remains there are but two classes left in the United States: Those who make decisions and those who suffer from them.

The captains of industry who own the NFL run a fiefdom whereby they shove their policies down the throats of fans, referees and players with little concern for anyone but themselves.

It is ironic that in this case, the Green Bay Packers, representing a team owned by a small city and very indicative of working-class values is the team stung the worst by the corporate sharks that run the NFL.

Is it really much ado about nothing?

In some respects, definitely. People may ultimately be little affected, nor deeply touched by what goes on in today’s NFL.

But the greed, manipulation and thorough distaste the owners have for the game they claim others should protect is openly seen and so horrible in its scope that it portends horrible problems for the immediate and distant future.

The NFL may indeed be in trouble.

But so is the rest of the country because of moves like this in every corporate and political board room from coast to coast.

So, please, keep it all in perspective.

But remember, the NFL isn’t just a game: It’s big business run amuck. No more. No less.

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