The NFL is currently untouchable as the top sport in America, but that doesn't mean the league always acts with integrity or is immune from being called out. First of all, there's the authoritarian power of commish Roger Goodell - who gets to play judge, jury, and executioner with any NFL player. The absolute power he holds is troubling.
Perhaps the most blatant headshaking behavior from the league deals with their gross hypocrisy on player safety. The league went into an uproar over a flurry of illegal hits last year, trumpeting a self-righteous crusade in the name of player safety. Then, it was revelaed that the league was profiting over the sale of pictues that depicted players suffering from those same illegal hits. The same league that wants to protect players was pushing for an 18 game schedule that made a mockery of player safety. The NFL has tried to have it both ways for years, but the latest example of this hypocrisy was perhaps the most jarring.
The following picture appeared on the NFL's website earlier today, promoting NFL Fantasy Football. The picture shows Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles after he suffered a season ending knee injury.
Are you kidding me? Jamaal Charles suffered a SEASON ENDING INJURY. Do you think it's "not too late" for him to "start again?" Do you think he's concerned about his devastating injury ruining YOUR fantasy season? This is a man's career and livelihood we're talking about, and yet, in their infinite wisdom, you can be damned sure NFL.com is going to find some way on God's green earth to take advantage of it. Obviously, some NFL players on Twitter were not pleased with the picture...
League spokesman Greg Aiello can throw "fantasy football marketing" under the bus, and the NFL will likely go on as if nothing ever happened. But, there's no denying that this appeared on the NFL's website and it is another example in what is becoming a disturbing trend. Thankfully, the NFL eventually pulled the picture from its website, but the imprint of exploting a player's injury won't fade away so quickly.