The Weekend Politics Thread Pets Its Peeve

I don’t like golfing
I don’t like tennis
I don’t like anything
Just football

We like sportz, but we love American football.1

Your tuned-in Weekend Politics Thread host keeps his ear to the ground and his finger on the pulse. He knows French voters will this Sunday cast ballots to decide the fate of small-d democracy in their nation. He cannot look away from genocides in Ukraine, Yemen, Myanmar and the Uighur-majority provinces of China. He would do a disservice to the wider audience of the World Wide Web should he neglect to note the mounting evidence of an ongoing conspiracy to foment a fascist coup against the government of the United States.

All of which explains why Uvular dedicates this WPT header to the even greater priority of bringing Washing Commanders owner Dan Schneider up on federal RICO charges.2

You bet Uve intends to roast a pigskin-covered sacred cow over the third rail of American sports fandom. Hut. Hut. Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act on two! On two!

The recent release of records from a whistleblower showing the once and future Washington Football Team kept two sets of financial ledgers follows a yearslong investigation of rampant sexism and sex-based discrimination in the corporate offices the Commanders. That concluded investigation itself followed the publication and broadcasting of abundant evidence that team executives pressured barely-paid cheerleaders into flying internationally for the sake of prostitution.

A yearly habit of commissioning 53 uniformed young men to ritualistically kneecap and brain injure other collections of young men in full view of the public enables those, ahem, more-genteel barbarities. Suspicions also abound that facilitating, encouraging or requiring the widespread abuse of steroids and opiates enhances Snyders’ crew members’ capabilities to commit carnage. But returning just to the possible money laundering, tax evasion and breach of contract on revenue-sharing, a congressional Republican’s apoplectic assault on the very idea that someone might look into the wrongdoing sets the gauge for assessing the credibility of the assertions of illegal bookkeeping.

Uvular singles out the Washington Commanders merely because the organization currently dominates headlines. The much-traveled Raiders franchise also weathered a “cheerleader” scandal—in quotes because the men in the suits did the dirt. Saints3 paid bounties on maimings. Every NFL team has its history of doping and discarding athletes destroyed in sacrifice to the religion of Sunday afternoons.

And even lambasting The League gives a pass to drinking towns with football problems such as State College, Pa., and Waco, Texas. If you, dear reader, click a single link this weekend, make it the Waco one. Former Baylor University president Ken Starr4 covered up more than 50 rapes by football players at the largest Baptist Church-affiliated college in the country. That happened after the school saw athletes on its football and men’s basketball teams kill each other over drug deals gone wrong.

And even looking out at the wider world of felonious semi-pro footballing give a pass to high school hero factories. No one could hope to stay on top of an endeavor with an assumed and accepted annual death toll. But think how toxic a “fun” and “for the kids” project has to become to make most adults walk away in disgust. Have that mental picture? Good: “50,000 high school referees (roughly 20% of the nationwide total) quit between 2018 and 2021, per the National Federation of State High School Associations.”

Uvular concedes any large-scale enterprise will draw a minority of bad actors, enable a handful of bad actions and produce a few bad outcomes. But the propagation of American football appears incapable of yielding anything but the worst results for everyone. He understands several Politicados and Avocadoians who never venture into the Politics Thread enjoy watching and/or playing football. He offers them no apologies. He also expects to make no converts to his quixotic crusade to end the sport. But, damn, at least get Dan Snyder out of the game.

With that, Uve hands it off to the commenters.

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