NFL Lockout Is Over: Why Are We Still Angry?

Emma,

I'd glad you asked. As a fan, I don't feel represented. More importantly, I don't expect to feel represented. Not when Jerry Jones, Drew Brees, and a bunch of well-connected lawyers sit down to determine who's getting what after said lawyers get theirs. (Death, taxes, the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and lawyers winning even when they lose: These things you can count on). After all, the NFL isn't Congress. It's commerce. A conglomeration selling stuff—in this case, eyeballs to television networks, along with hyperreal cleavage, irreversible brain damage and a way to shadowbox the inevitable Sunday night melancholy of having to go back to work the next day.

Excuse me. Did I say fan? I meant customer. Throughout the lockout, nothing drove me crazier than the constant, low-level, near-subliminal talk radio suggestion and/or conceit that football fans customers were somehow owed the upcoming season. That the pigskin lovin' people of our great nation were facing the prospect of a large and unjust harm. No. A thousand times no. None of us are owed a thing from Goodell and company, any more than Harry Potter junkies are owed another book from J.K. Rowling. Attention, America: pro football is neither a gift, a right nor a unicorn. It does not exist because of your perfect, unblemished love for the Carolina Panthers. It's the big screen you bought at a big box store, the vacant-eyed girl behind the peep show glass. It exists because you pay for it. With time and attention, sure. But mostly with money.

As such, I can't share Jake's frustration. Unlike Hampton, I'm not exactly relieved. Football doesn't move me that way. And to get back to your question, Emma—oddly enough, I do feel as though my interests played a sideways role in the NFL's deal. Probably because my interests are simple, unitary, the same interest each of us increasingly brings to every waking hour of American life: entertain me. As a pre-baked conflict, the lockout was pretty entertaining. Like a football game. Or Reality TV. Or the aforementioned Congress, which still represents our entertainment interests through sheer showy dysfunction, even as laws are bought and sold.

And that's the thing, Jake: you say posturing and grandstanding as if they're somehow bad.

–Patrick

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Sports Roundtable

Patrick Hruby, Jake Simpson, and Hampton Stevens 

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