Editorial By Grant Stone, football loving father
Like a lot of people, there’s nothing I like better on a Sunday afternoon than watching some NFL in my old armchair, with a cool beer in my hand. Lately, it’s also become an occasion for my five-year-old son and I to spend some quality time together. But last Sunday, we were innocently flipping around the various games and landed upon the game happening in Seattle. My son looked up to me, his eyes wide and brimming with tears, and I braced myself for what I knew what was coming next, the question I had dreaded since the day my son was born:
“Dad, what’s a Seahawk?”
For the first time as a father, I had no answer for my son. What is a Seahawk? I know hawks fly, but the sea is filled with water. How can they fly if they live in the sea? Are they like giant penguins? Are they even real? The logo doesn’t help at all. What bird in nature has neon green eyes?
I shouldn’t have to be a marine biologist to enjoy a simple game of football. I mean, if the Washington football team is playing, my son and I have a reasoned discussion about historical racism towards the indigenous people of North America. If we see players kneeling during the national anthem, my son and I can enrich our time together by talking about police brutality and the right to protest. And my son and I both look fondly upon the Sundays we’ve spent discussing the many cases of domestic abuse that come up in a standard football broadcast. But if the NFL wants to bring the confusing world of mutant sea creatures into my living room, they should at least give me some kind of warning first.
I’ve written many letters to the NFL on this subject, but have failed to garner a response beyond a very sarcastic form letter. I understand that the times, they are a-changing, and it’s becoming more acceptable to openly discuss some of the weird forms of life they have out there on the west coast. But for someone like me in the middle of the country, it’s difficult to process these changes, and I would prefer to keep my football about normal animals like Bears, Lions and Browns. This type of confusing team name is exactly the reason we don’t allow discussion of the CFL in our house.
In the end I had no answer for my confused child. I tried to change the subject to how the concussion epidemic has made us complicit in destroying young men’s lives for even watching a football game, but he wouldn’t bite. We sat in silence for the rest of the afternoon. Now he’s starting to ask his mom about going to the zoo, where another world of questions awaits. I can feel this family coming apart at the seams, and I know exactly where the blame lies: at the foot of Roger Goodell and the National Football League.