My friend Rob recently pointed out to me that the most insidious of all the liberal journalists are the sports writers. Because their subject matter is inherently unimportant (don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge sports fan), they don’t have to even pretend to be thoughtful or cogent in their writing. Never has this been more true than in the analysis this week of the Redskins decision to sign serial domestic abuser, Reuben Foster.
Before I go any farther, let me do some level setting so you don’t blast me. First, I categorically and unconditionally condemn any domestic abuse of any kind. No exceptions. Period. Full stop. Second, as a 50-year Redskins fan, I acknowledge that if there’s a way to fuck something up, the Redskins will figure it out very quickly and do it. The PR around the Foster situation is a case in point.
Back to the Foster situation. In case you missed it, the 49ers cut their star linebacker last weekend after his second arrest on domestic abuse charges and the Redskins signed him. There may be some inconsistencies in his accuser’s story and I’ve read they’re now back together, but none of that excuses his behavior, per my comment above. And, while innocent until proven guilty is a core founding principle of our judicial system (except in the case of liberal members of the US Senate and, well, the entire Democrat Party, but I digress), there’s an awful lot of evidence to suggest Foster did something wrong. Let’s just stipulate that he did for purposes of this blog because I want to make an entirely different point.
The outrage, especially from the left, has been deafening in the wake of the Redskins’ signing of Foster. The most comical screams have been from those who are trying to make the completely spurious point that there’s some huge irony that the Redskins wouldn’t sign Colin Kaepernick when their starting QB went down for the season, but they did sign Foster. All Kaepernick did was kneel, they argue. Foster beat his girlfriend. That argument misses many points, chief among them that Kaepernick sucked as a QB and was already benched when he decided to be a disruptive figure by protesting something that all the data in the world show doesn’t exist. And, therein lies the reason nobody wants to sign him. He’s a shitty QB and a disruptive force. And, by the way, lots of people are seriously offended by what he did and that’s not OK.
But, let’s get back to Foster so I can make my main point (finally, thanks for hanging in this far). The point is this: if you contribute a single penny to the NFL by watching it on TV, attending games, buying jerseys, playing fantasy, or writing about it in the Washington Post, you are a complete hypocrite to be outraged by the Foster signing. Why is that? It’s simple. The NFL is comprised of bad guys. Not all of them, but a lot of them.
The USA Today keeps a database of arrests of NFL players for serious offenses (i.e., it excludes minor traffic violations and the like) that goes back to 2000. In 19 years, there have been 922 arrests of NFL players for serious offenses ranging from DUIs on the low end to domestic assault, manslaughter, and murder on the high end. 922 arrests over 19 years is about 49 per year every year for nearly two decades. There are 32 teams with 53 players on each roster. That’s 1,696 players in the NFL in any given year. So, over 19 years, one in 34 players has been arrested, on average, every single year. 107 of the 922 arrests were for domestic violence. That’s one in every 300 players, though studies have shown that domestic abuse goes unreported as much as 90% of the time so the rate is probably much higher.
Google employs 85,050 people (and that’s according to Google so I assume it’s accurate). If Google employees were arrested for serious crimes at the same rate as NFL players, there would be 2500 Google employees arrested for serious crimes each and every year. There would be 283 Google employees arrested for domestic violence every year. Do you think that would be a good story? You might have to use Bing or Yahoo! to find it, but it’d be a hell of a story. As an aside, a Google search of “Number of Google employees arrested” does not yield anything meaningful while “Number of NFL players arrested” yields page after page of direct hits.
Let me say it again, understanding that, like all generalizations, it doesn’t apply to everyone. The NFL is a bunch of bad guys. Yes, there are some really good guys. There are guys helping inner city youth and raising money for worthy causes. But, in the aggregate, the NFL is filled with bad guys that commit crimes and abuse their domestic partners at a rate that is alarming, to say the least and, more accurately, is terrifying. So, if you’re watching the NFL, supporting the NFL, playing fantasy football and so on, you have already made a decision to support a bunch of bad guys. One of the primary reasons (aside from the fact that the Redskins have sucked for 20+ years) that I lost interest in the NFL is precisely this fact. I got tired of watching and supporting a bunch of bad guys. That’s totally unfair to the good guys in the league, but the proportion of bad guys is so high, as demonstrated by the statistics in the USA Today database, that I really couldn’t do it any longer.
So, unless you’re prepared to completely stop supporting or watching the NFL and drop out of your fantasy league, it’s complete hypocrisy to get all up in arms about the Redskins signing Reuben Foster. When you flip on your favorite team on Sunday or let the Red Zone show you all 16 games at once, you’re watching dozens of Reuben Fosters.