Right-wing pundit hates it that so many people are following NFL scandals

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

It’s way too early to tell what kind of long-term effects the current domestic violence scandal in the National Football League will have on TV ratings, but so far it seems to be a bonanza.

The cases involving Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and several other NFL players have spawned a spirited national conversation about spouse abuse and corporal punishment — a healthy conversation, if you ask me. And regardless of which sides people are taking on these matters, they seem to be watching and reading news media coverage of these issues with great interest and in large numbers.

TV ratings for NFL games in the past week and a half have soared, and so have those for ESPN’s blanket coverage of the scandal. The mainstream TV networks also have been paying lots of attention to the matter, which indicates that they discern widespread public interest.

Inevitably, many viewers and readers eventually will move along to some other story. The shelf-life of any hot story is almost always pretty short these days. Witness the fact that headlines from Ferguson, Mo., are few and far between for the time being.

But even at this stage of the NFL scandal, there’s at least one observer who seems inexplicably annoyed that the matter has drawn more than passing attention from the media to begin with.

He’s Rich Lowry, editor of the right-wing National Review, and HERE‘s what he has to say:

It’s a wonder that President Barack Obama didn’t include a passage in his speech to the nation last week pledging to bring NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to justice.

Such is the weight the press has put on the NFL’s punishment of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for punching his then-fiancée that Denis McDonough, the president’s chief of staff, had to weigh in on “Meet the Press”: “I think we all know that Ray Rice being suspended indefinitely seems to be exactly the right thing.”

On the NFL, the media has lost its collective mind…

This is patently absurd. Even if the NFL is spectacularly successful, it is still just a sports league. More specifically, it is a business that stages violent spectacles that will damage the brains of some significant portion of its participants. We really shouldn’t be expecting it to set our society’s standards…

No matter how many sermonettes we hear to the contrary, the NFL is not the key to fighting domestic violence. In fact, it has no connection to it whatsoever….

This should be fodder for robust debate on ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption.” Soul-searching analysis on “The Sports Reporters.” In-depth reportage on “Between the Lines.” In short, it should occupy every sports journalist eager to validate his or her seriousness by delving into political and social commentary (which is to say, most of them).

It shouldn’t be a dominant news story across all media — for weeks.

This is all so wildly disproportionate that perhaps something more than the usual ax-grinding, ratings-chase and group-think is at work. It may be that these cases are convenient ways to express a deeper discomfort with the NFL, which sacrifices men’s bodies and minds for our viewing pleasure every week.

That, of course, is something in which everyone who enjoys football is implicated and isn’t such a ready subject for table-thumping condemnations.