Friday, November 4, 2016

Richard Sherman is Right

Last week the story about the large National Football League ratings drop hit the front page of The New York Times. I am interested in how "lowbrow" entertainment and media mirror the dominant culture. The NFL ratings drop is part of a general hollowing out of mainstream U.S. institutions. Newspapers are dying. Voters have lost faith in the major parties.

If you had to point out the main culprit, it is the concentration of wealth and corporate power. To get a flavor of this watch the Amazon Original Series "All or Nothing: A Season with the Arizona Cardinals," an in-the-training-facility documentary about the Cardinals' 2015 season. It is depressing. It is like watching a bunch of workers and managers struggle through a completely mirthless, high pressure Fortune 500 job. Even the light, festive moments, like the long-range football-toss-into-a-garbage-container competition, reek of staged corporate mandatory fun.

Richard Sherman nailed it, "Seahawk Richard Sherman rips Roger Goodell, officiating, says NFL ‘isn’t fun anymore’ — and more," when he was asked yesterday to explain the NFL ratings drop:
“Because the league isn’t fun anymore. Every other league, you see the players have a good time. It’s a game. This isn’t politics. This isn’t justice. This is entertainment. And they’re no longer allowing the players to entertain. They’re no longer allowing the players to show any kind of personality, any kind of uniqueness, any individuality. Because they want to control the product. They want to control the messaging, etc., etc. … They say we’re trying to influence kids, and that’s their biggest thing. That’s their biggest ploy is you don’t want to be a bad influence to kids. You don’t want to be a bad role model. And I can agree with that. But in the same breath, you can’t say Budweiser is the official sponsor of the NFL, and we’re trying to influence kids. So there’s a ton of hypocrisy, but it doesn’t matter because we don’t control it.”
Corporate concentration of wealth is destroying everything -- the planet, politics, even entertainment.


  1. Roger Goodell. A rich kid, son of a former Republican senator, who doesn't understand the physics of an inflated football but can count heads and hands around the conference table.

    1. A breakdown of Roger Goodell's pay from a CNN Money story, "NFL cuts Roger Goodell's pay again":

      "The NFL paid Roger Goodell $31.7 million in 2015, which means his salary was cut by more than $2 million from the year before. Goodell's annual pay has been cut $12.5 million since 2012.
      - 2012 pay: $44.2 million
      - 2013 pay: $35 million
      - 2014 pay: $34.1 million
      - 2015 pay $31.7 million"

      The NFL minimum salary is $450,000. Goodell makes twice as much as Tom Brady. It is ludicrous, obscene.

      It will be interesting to see if conventional wisdom is correct and the NFL ratings rebound after the presidential election. Game Seven of the World Series was the most-watched baseball game in 25 years. Proof of my point that the NFL ratings drop is about more than the 2016 campaign. People will watch if there is something appealing.