The NFL has become an unintentional forum for social issues in the past year. From the Ray Rice scandal exposing the prevalence of domestic violence to the ongoing debate over the Washington franchise’s name, every manner of incendiary topic has been at the forefront of pigskin news. Senator Harry Reid has used the Patriots’ Deflategate controversy to spell out a larger point about the Redskins’ dated name.
The Washington team owner, Dan Snyder, has come to the staunch defense of the name. He claims that both fans and native communities support it remaining the same. But when the Oneida Indian Nation sponsored a telling Super Bowl ad with a contrary premise, it was evident that vocal opposition would not be ignored.
It seems that Reid won’t be denied, either, opening a session on the Congress floor with a searing critique of both the NFL as a governing body and Snyder’s faction of name defenders. One issue doesn’t have to do with the other, but in the minds of casual fans, the NFL seems intent on putting out fires instead of addressing valid concerns head on.
That approach hasn’t worked up to now, and will likely be a thorn in Roger Goodell’s side until some respectful compromise is reached. Until then, it seems the NFL’s plan is to let the offenses pile up.