The NFL has had a disastrous three-year run.
The anti-American anthem protests have been a constant source of agony for league Commissioner Roger Goodell.
But one NFL player just contributed to another terrible problem plaguing the league.
Baseball is America’s pastime.
While the rest of the world obsessed about soccer, Americans fell in love with baseball and exported it to places like the Caribbean and the Far East.
But eventually, the sport of football became America’s passion.
Over the decades, football became the most popular sport, and it hasn’t relinquished the title.
In fact, football’s ascension in popularity had been an uninterrupted upslope for years.
But all of that has changed within the last decade.
The NFL’s seemingly indestructible brand is starting to fissure.
Arbitrary rules and terrible officiating became even more scandalous than the maddening NBA, and that league had a referee actually go to jail for gambling on NBA games.
One of the problems with the rules is the league’s effort to legislate big hits out of the game to mitigate another problem, concussions.
The science hasn’t caught up to remedy the apparent long-term damage of repeated brain injuries.
While that is an important concern, throwing a flag anytime a hit looks “scary” waters down a game that is inherently violent.
Some fear activists’ war on football will result in the eventual elimination of tackle football.
While the NFL frets over the head injury issue—the league has settled cases with former players for a total of $700 million—the anti-American anthem protests was a tipping point that caused the league to see a prolonged dip in viewership.
For the first time in decades, the NFL experienced a multi-year decline in popularity.
And leftists are chomping at the bit.
For many of these leftist activists, this is the first time they’ve ever cared about football.
The mainstream media and leftist organizations elevated anthem protest pioneer Colin Kaepernick to John Henry status.
The Kaepernick saga brought up another skeleton in the NFL’s closet: off-the-field arrests.
In 1998, the book Pros And Cons: The Criminals Who Play In The NFL painted a troubling picture of lawlessness in the league which included, domestic violence, aggravated assault, statutory rape, drug trafficking, and even conspiracy to murder a sitting judge.
Unfortunately, the league has not done a good job of shaking this image.
Former NFL player Ray Rice created a media storm when surveillance footage captured him knocking his then-fiancée unconscious and dragging her off an elevator.
Recently the Kansas City Chiefs released star running back Kareem Hunt after hotel security footage showed him shoving a woman to the ground and kicking her.
Now Washington Redskins safety Montae Nicholson created another headache for the league when cell phone camera footage caught him in the middle of a brutal street fight where he knocked another man out cold.
TMZ Sports has obtained footage of Washington Redskins safety Montae Nicholson pummeling a man in the middle of a Virginia street around 2 AM Tuesday morning … and it’s violent. SUBSCRIBE — http://po.st/TMZSportsSubscribe About TMZ Sports: Some of the best stories in sports have been off the field and we’re reporting on athletes from NFL, NBA, UFC, WWE, MLB and more!
The incident occurred at the absolute worst time for the NFL, only weeks after the ugly Kareem Hunt affair.
And the fact that Nicholson plays for the Redskins is particularly troubling for the league.
Activists have been pushing for Kaepernick to get a job with the Redskins in light of their quarterback injury issues.
Every time another NFL player gets into off-the-field trouble, it gives the Kaepernick supporters fuel to attack the league for “blackballing” him while turning a blind eye to violent behavior.
While the NFL is doing a poor job of getting its house in order, the league isn’t paying attention to the cracking foundation.