Thankfully Football Saves Us From Football

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Stephen A.Smith

Everything gets pushed aside for the start of NFL training camps.

Is Kevin Love getting traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers?

Not nearly as important as a cocky, highly questionable rookie quarterback for the lowly Cleveland Browns. The size of the most recent Jose Abreu home run? Psshh.

Was it bigger than Jay Cutler’s new shaggin’ wagon?

Much like the way the commencement of baseball Spring Training fills us with a sort of revitalizing vigor every year, this version of the start of the NFL season (not to be confused with the draft or minicamp or the Hall of Fame Game or your team’s first preseason game or the third preseason game that’s like almost real football or the Thursday game of Week 1 or Sunday of Week 1 the next week) stirs up those savage desires to watch controlled violence.

Football makes everything better.

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Football even makes football better.

Right before players started showing up in little towns with duffle bags and boxes full of their temporary homes, football had a really bad week. But we’re all going to recover from it because football. Like a pimp or drug dealer that really has our best interests at heart, what the NFL provides for us in FOOTBALL FOOTBALL FOOTBALL makes all the bad stuff it overtly or covertly condones and its consideration of fans as complete morons—some of that consideration justified—all the more swallowable and forgettable.

Ray Rice can punch a woman into unconsciousness and end up being penalized a mere two games—less than suspensions players have received for smoking pot, taking Adderall, and getting tattoos in college. We need not feel bad about this, though, because Rice and the unconscious ended up going to counseling and got married. And as any good mansplainer will tell you, a face has to get in the way of a fist for a punch to connect, and women need to put some thought into that. Maybe particularly when Rice is rushing the football during the NFL’s Breast Cancer Awareness campaign that it mostly profits from. If this can be a teaching moment for kids, it can be one for the ladies, too.

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A cool Boston radio dude can be a gentleman and offer an apology to Erin Andrews for calling her a “gutless bitch” that he hopes will “drop dead” by giving her sound advice to not gain any weight lest she become potential Tiger Woods road beef. That might seem like a tad bit more than tough love, but once Fox returns to broadcasting football games, offended people will be back to focusing on complaining that Andrews doesn’t do a good enough job of giving us information that has already appeared on Twitter minutes earlier or in beat writers’ work days before or asking vanilla questions to large men coming off a testosterone high.

The real issues, you know?

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Tony Dungy is a Super Bowl champion coach and big damn homophobe.

Some stupid things he said about the league’s first openly gay player were published this week.

Michael Sam is a potential distraction to Dungy, but in reality he’s only a distraction to obtuse people that can’t handle others proving their messed up worldviews are wrong. The league won’t do anything about an analyst on its prime time game of the week being a bad guy, though, because we certainly won’t stop watching that game of the week.

Football makes homophobia okay.

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And it’s not just on the pro level that football was human garbage this week.

West Virginia QB Clint Trickett deleted his Twitter account after the internet took exception to “Watchin football with girls is literally worse than death. One bad play, “they suck”. #TheseHoesAintLoyal #Stick2Cooking.” The hashtags are super misogynistic.

The use of “literally” is laughably incorrect. Trickett ignores the fact that most men are terrible to watch sports with, and he’s obviously never listened to that Boston radio show.

But how will this affect him as he prepares for us to watch him make multiple bad plays against Alabama opening week?

Two Texas Longhorns football players were arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman. Doug Gottlieb, not one to shy away from asking smart questions regarding rape…

…spoke for us all on Twitter, but then he deleted his real talk because some of us had a problem with it.

Unfortunately deleted tweets are lost forever.

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Besides the philosophical questions women getting raped makes us ask, we also need to remember to consider how something like this affects a depth chart.

Thankfully we have football to save itself and our collective conscience from football. Touchdowns with league-approved polite celebrations and big hits that are illegal outside a twelve-inch diameter on an opponent’s torso and just good ol’ fashioned America is what the game brings us.

We are lucky to be able to be complicit in this great distraction.

Tim Baffoe is a lifelong resident of Chicago’s Southwest Side and is a teacher, pizza delivery driver, and freelance writer with a regular sports column for CBS Chicago. You can follow his desperate cries for help on Twitter at @TimBaffoe

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