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The game we once loved slips into an era of disgrace

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The National Football League and the game of football itself has captivated many Americans’ televisions for almost a half century, and recently has garnered a much larger global audience.

I’ve been watching football since my early childhood because part of my family is from a town outside of Green Bay, Wisconsin where they have a shrine to the Green Bay Packers in their basement.

I fell in love with the game and the culture that was made by the fans.

For the past few years however, I have stopped watching America’s new pastime on television, particularly the NFL. Unless the game is already on where I happen to be on a Monday, Thursday or Sunday night, I don’t flick on the TV.

This is because of how visibly out of control the NFL has become.

From the violent actions players have taken off the field being disregarded by the league, executives and fans to the endless and questionable fines that players are slapped with for minimal incidents on the field – it’s all a little too much.

The NFL also shows a lack of concern for player safety, which seems to indicate even more that the NFL remains hesitant to talk about concussions.

It could be in large part because big hits bring substantial profits, and the financial bottom line has become almost the entire focus of the league executives.

This season, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick protested the national anthem to raise awareness for social injustices between police and minorities.

It created a controversy and it seemed as if almost everyone in the nation had an opinion on this.

When Kaepernick started a game in Buffalo, he was swarmed by boos, though there were marches in support of him before the game.

The NFL let it slide and still there are players protesting the anthem.

I don’t see a problem with the protest and am glad to see that the NFL doesn’t  silence any players’ freedom to express themselves.

However, the NFL denied the Dallas Cowboys’ request to honor the five fallen police officers in Texas by donning a sticker on their helmets. Why not let both sides have a voice?

I get it, it is in the rulebook of the NFL that a team may not wear any items on their uniform that promotes a group not affiliated with the NFL, especially anything political.

Yet the protest of the national anthem is entirely political, and the NFL allows it.

Another aspect of where the NFL is reducing the fun from the game comes in the form of player celebrations.

These athletes spend countless hours practicing, studying plays and film and preparing themselves for the enormous pressure to play in a stadium full of fans waiting to see something exciting.

They should be allowed to celebrate a little when something goes their way, instead of being pegged with an outrageous fine.

These rules take away from the culture of the game. I understand the NFL wants to have this professional appearance, but they have players that have been tried for domestic violence yet they are still playing.

I don’t see the harm in a little fun, especially since this doesn’t harm anyone.

The way the NFL has cracked down on things that don’t physically harm anyone, should instead be focused on how they discipline players who physically hurt people.

It’s all a disgrace to the game.

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The game we once loved slips into an era of disgrace