Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver/uber blocker Hines Ward went on a bit of a tangent this week about how he thinks the NFL is run by hypocrites. Truthfully, he might be right, but what he actually said didn’t make a whole lot of sense. Remember, this guy has a college degree (from UGA), so he obviously can’t be stupid right? Let’s take a closer look at the words that came out of his mouth shall we?
Quote number one “The league doesn’t care about us anyway,’’
Long story short, probably not. 99% of players are totally replaceable. There is no shortage of talent pouring in from the NCAA. Someone like Hines Ward is particularly replaceable at this stage of his career. He is an aging receiver who is now better known for his tenacity and blocking skills than for his pass catching ability (though admittedly he is still quite good at that too). That’s a cold hard look at Ward, but he took a hard cold look at the NFL.
Quote number two “They don’t care about the safety of the game. If the league was so concerned about the safety, why are you adding two more games on?”
This quote is just plain stupid. On face value, it makes sense. But upon closer inspection, it really doesn’t. Player safety is in NO WAY related to the length of the schedule. Player HEALTH and the length of the season are definitely related, but player health and player safety are NOT the same thing. The crack down on head shots is there to keep players safe. If they are safer, one can draw the conclusion that their health will be much improved, and thus they can have a longer season. Thus, the new rules will help facilitate a longer season which, for the record, I am totally against.
Quote number three “You talk about you don’t want players to drink . . . and all you see is beer commercials.”
Here is another stupid one. When did the NFL tell their players they don’t want them to drink? They have said on multiple occasions that they don’t want players to be drunken buffoons who embarrass the league and its brand with their shenanigans, but never that they don’t want them to drink. If you can’t see the difference, well, that is really kind of sad.
Quote number four “You don’t want us to gamble, but then there are [NFL-endorsed scratch tickets].’’
Okay, he kind of has a point here. It kind of is hypocritical of the NFL to support gambling in any way, and that should include “the lines”. Maybe the NFL releases them, maybe they don’t, I don’t actually know. But if they were serious about cracking down on gambling then they wouldn’t allow their broadcasting networks (Fox, CBS, ESPN) to post the odds on their web site. I agree that gambling on football is good for the sport. It gives fans something to cheer about in a game they otherwise would have no vested interest in, and that can only be good for the game. However, for the NFL to condone it like this is kind of shady if you ask me. Then again who did?
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After looking at this, one can draw three conclusions. One, Hines Ward is an idiot. Two, Hines Ward is frustrated. Or three, Hines Ward is actually a pretty smart guy who is trying to get sympathy for his cause from a fairly stupid public. You can select any number of these conclusions I suppose, but I for one happen to think that it is the latter and not the former. Unfortunately for Mr. Ward, not all the public is a stupid as he had hoped.