Are You Ready for Some Football Hypocrisy?

In today’s edition of the on-line blog Monday Morning Quarterback, editor/writer Peter King spends around half of its six pages excoriating a few NFL players for crimes they have been accused of. He invites football fans to consider whether or not they should stop watching football because of this. King, the lead football writer for Sports Illustrated, has become a multi-millionaire by spreading his thin talents across several media platforms, including television. He gave no intention that he intends to walk away from that.

If we are going to examine immorality in the NFL, we could start with the way league executives knew for many years about how concussions had devastated the lives of thousands of NFL players. The league kept this quiet. They had the data and covered it up. King gave them a couple of “tsk tsk”s for this and moved on.

But King has never had so much as a “tsk tsk” in response to the fundamental immorality which defines the business side of the National Football League–it’s synergy with corporations which are, not to put too fine a point on it, destroying the world.

The NFL’s corporate sponsors include Nike, notorious for using sweatshops to make its products; Bank of America, which has foreclosed on hundreds of thousands of American homeowners; Coca-Cola, which is gobbling up much of the world’s water supply while hundreds of millions of people have no access to fresh water; and Lucas Oil, an integral part of the fossil fuel industrial complex which is poisoning our planet. While most Americans have been thrilled to see the emergence of a growing movement for a living wage among U.S. fast food workers, the NFL partners with those who refuse to pay it, such as Papa John’s Pizza.

Come to think of it, Denver Bronco quarterback Peyton Manning owns thirty Papa John’s restaurants. Peter King has nothing but praise for him. Well, a mild rebuke for playing poorly in the last Super Bowl.

The real story here isn’t Peter King, who is nothing but a practice squad player on the Big Media team which, 24/7, works to convince us that the only thing wrong in America is the random immorality of a few individuals. The real story is that we, almost all of us, accept this framing of moral issues as legitimate instead of the obvious diversion it is meant to be. As long as we play along with that game, our country will continue to disintegrate, taking us right along with it.

Lee Ballinger co-edits Rock & Rap Confidential. Free email subscriptions are available by writing


Lee Ballinger, CounterPunch’s music columnist, is co-editor of Rock and Rap Confidential author of the forthcoming book Love and War: My First Thirty Years of Writing, interviewed Honkala for CounterPunch. RRRC is now available for free by emailing Ballinger at: