The Orion

NFL malcontents are nothing new

Matt Murphy

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Illustration by Rachel Dugo

Illustration by Rachel Dugo

I remember when I found out Matthew Perry was going through a pill addiction while on “Friends.”

I was shocked. I had been living under a veil of ignorance.

I thought it was a little strange when he gained all that weight halfway through the series. He had that “going through some stuff” look, but I didn’t want to know, so I didn’t.

At the risk of beating a horse that’s been dead for weeks now, allow me to compare that with three letters: N-F-L.

Every week a different player is in legal trouble or has committed a crime and is another week away from being in legal trouble.

As a lifelong 49ers and all-around football fan, it’s depressing. The game I love so much is tarnished to the point that I question my love for it.

I should have questioned it long ago. Alas, this is as much a confession as it is anything else: I too have lived with the wool pulled over my eyes all these years.

Players getting in trouble is not new.

Granted, “lifelong fan” for me means roughly 10 years. But when my dad was my age, Lawrence Taylor was going into New York Giants meetings drunk and would send prostitutes to opponents’ hotel rooms the night before games. He beat NFL drug tests by submitting the urine of his teammates.

These are all things that the public found out after Taylor retired. The only reason we know now is because he told us in interviews and autobiographies.

They didn’t want to know, so they didn’t.

To view the league as it is now and lament its current state is naive. Ray Rice is not the first NFL employee to commit an act of domestic violence. He just did it in a time when maybe, just maybe, society cares more about what’s right than who’s playing.

Perhaps it’s a reflection on society that now we want to know and have the means to find out about what really happens in the league.

It’s comforting to know that while my beloved game may not be moving forward, perhaps the world around it is.

Matt Murphy can be reached at [email protected] or @mattmurphy93 on Twitter.

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NFL malcontents are nothing new