When being an NFL fan violates personal ethics

Photo of NFL owner Robert Kraft from TMZ.com.

At what point does being a fan of the NFL become too difficult to justify in terms of violating personal ethics? When does it become outright hypocrisy to spend time and resources on a sport riddled with behavior that consistently defies one’s personal code of ethics?

Asking for a friend.

After enduring a litany of news reports about Robert Kraft’s personal proclivities, I finally turned my computer off and started thinking long and hard about why I continue to support and follow the NFL.

The main excuse conjured up is eerily familiar – the whole world has gone mad so I might as well enjoy the game simply for itself. I hide behind that one a lot these days.

The bottom line for many female NFL fans is that we have a whole different view of the landscape. What a certain percentage of males (and sadly females) view as merely normal human behavior, the rest of us look at the big picture and see the hypocrisy of supporting a league riddled with misogyny – and worse.

Photo of Owner Kim Pegula from WKBW.com.

Then my twisted brain tries to imagine how an owner like Kim Pegula might be feeling about the possibility that one of her peers casually disregarded the possibility he might be participating in activities supporting the trafficking of women.

We’ve reached a dangerous place as female fans of the NFL. Each of us has to look in the mirror and ask ourselves how we can negotiate a mindset that supports an organization riddled with a host of misogynistic behavior on a regular basis.

I don’t pretend to have an answer for this dilemma. However, I do believe we would all probably benefit from some soul searching about how to proceed from here.

Each of us has our own tolerance level for hypocrisy before it causes enough cognitive dissonance that we finally take action. Quite frankly, I see my NFL fanhood standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon on a windy day at the moment.

Photo of Grand Canyon from grandcanyon.com.

Having long been a supporter of the belief that if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem, the time has comeI to reconcile this ever-growing conflict in my brain. Typical of how I deal with things, I will proceed with soliciting support and dialogue with others before making a decision.

So, for those of you who see little or no problem with the behavioral problems that exist in the NFL in this regard, this question is NOT for you. I’m interested in learning how others who feel the same way – how do you cope with the obvious conflict of interest?

Editor’s babble: I’d appreciate your thoughtful feedback. FYI I’ll delete any rude remarks because this isn’t a discussion about the particulars of morality. It’s a question for people in conflict and how they cope with it. You can also find me on Twitter @RobynMundyWYO if you’d like to comment there.

*Views expressed are belong to the author and may or may not be the same as the owners of the BillsMafia.com website.

About Robyn Mundy

Robyn Mundy is Editor-in-Chief of the BillsMafia blog at BuffaloFAMbase.com. She's a retired oncology nurse & psychotherapist who loves to write about her life-long passion for the Buffalo Bills, and occasionally something of clinical or social relevance. Robyn lives with her husband Gary and their dogs in the foothills of the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming. Robyn is also a proud founding sponsor. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynMundyWYO.

13 Replies to “When being an NFL fan violates personal ethics”

  1. Spot on, Robyn. Quite honestly, I have been struggling with the same thoughts. I know I don’t feel the same about this sport, as there are still way too many who are abusive to women in many forms. What ever happened to being a gentleman and treating women with respect?

    I also have lost enjoyment of the game because of the cognitive damage it’s caused to so many players, including beloved members of the 1980’s-90’s playoff teams. I have trouble watching and knowing it’s a matter of when, not if, another player will suffer brain-damaging injury.

    • Thanks for your thoughtful reply, Charlie. I should have added the concussion issue because for me it is also a major source of conflict about supporting an organization who fought for so long to deny the problem. But that might be better served in a separate post because your point deserves its own examination. Thanks so much. Robyn

  2. I think you nailed it with this Robyn! I’m a fan of the Washington franchise and there’s been a lot of awful things going on in that organization over the past few years and it’s because Synder is delusional and a prick and yet I still find myself watching the game on Sundays. The only reason I can come up with as to why is because I want to support the good people in that organization so I feel like as long as I do that while also calling out the bad people in it then I can live with myself! That’s the approach I use with the NFL as a whole as well but with that being said players have a responsibility to not abuse women and the NFL has a responsibility to hold them accountable when they do. I know it doesn’t do much but as a nobody it’s the best I can do! It’s really sad isn’t it!
    Keep up the great work Robyn, you’re a badass!

    • Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m just trying to muddle through like everyone else but at times it becomes like trying to walk through quicksand. Isn’t it interesting that Kim Pegula just fired three more VP level employees, two for what appears to be for sexual harassment? I do take solace in knowing the Bills are an organization that puts their “money where their mouth is” so to speak. Appreciate your commentary very much! Robyn

  3. It’s not really just the NFL. Wealthy, powerful men in all walks of life have been outed in recent times, movie and television, politics, etc. The game I will continue to support, even my almost always dreadful Bills. There are more good people than not, but being decent doesn’t merit compliments, nor should it. I don’t really think it’s worse now than in the past, just as I don’t believe kids are less safe now than in the past. We are of course more aware than back when due mostly to social media. Kraft is a piece of you know what, now let’s see if the NFL world is fair. I live in North Carolina and the Panthers have been recently sold by an owner for seems like much less sins. Wonder if king New England will, hopefully, go the same way.

    • Thanks for reading and your thoughtful response! I’m also very interested to see how the NFL handles Kraft’s situation in light of Richardson’s situation with the Panthers. Robyn

  4. ‪Thanks Robyn for your thoughtful article. I have been a Bills fan since I was old enough to jump the fence at Rich to watch OJ play. Talk about disappointment. That one stung, especially for the families of the victims. ‬

    ‪That said, when I see the face of my most hated franchise, I see a very empty and sad individual. RK’s current behavior is a symbol of what that entire organization “believes”. That is that they are above the “ordinary” (everyone else). ‬
    ‪When the truth is a different version that’s more palatable, there are no moral standards or ethics. So, with that said, I don’t feel ethically violated by others behaviors when their actions tell me none exist for them. ‬
    ‪It’s disappointing for sure. Women are secondary, disrespected and abused, horrifically. Thanks RK for shinning a light so that more may be saved. ‬

    • Thanks for reading and commenting, Donna. I guess I should have expected to read thoughtful responses on here but Twitter? It’s a cesspool, lol. “So, with that said, I don’t feel ethically violated by others behaviors when their actions tell me none exist for them.” That is a VERY interesting point I’m going to ponder for awhile. Thank you again!!! Robyn

  5. Hey Robyn
    I do struggle with all those aspects that you listed. But I really wrestle with just really a love for the Bill’s! If it wasn’t for the Bill’s I really do feel that I could go with out watching football! I really am struggling after this year with Josh Allen…I too am from Wyoming, and was ecstatic when we drafted him! And I just feel like this team is soooooo close now to being relevant! But the other thing is that there just seems to be so much corruption in the game itself! The bad officiating is making it harder to watch! So for me the struggle will probably continue. I wish people would just do what the Bible says, and just treat others the way you wished to be treated, and we would not have stuff like this going on. As for the concussions and health issues…what sports could we have? Nascar…drivers have lost their lives! Indy cars…same! Ultimate fighting! The list is long.

    • Hi John!!! Thank you so much for your comments. You’re definitely right about the number of sports that are high risk for concussions. Where are you in Wyoming? I think there were more wyos happy about Josh Allen being drafted than Bills fans at first :) Amazing how many are singing a different tune now, lol. Please stay in touch and thanks again!!! Robyn

      • Hey Robyn
        I probably live not too far from you…I am about 50 minutes or so west of Gillette Wyoming. The big town of Upton Wyoming…a whole 1100 people maybe. Love my small town, and love Buffolo Bills. Have a great day!

        • Hi John… I have to approve comments made for the first time to be sure you’re not a spambot :) We live between Sheridan and Buffalo WYO, which is very funny because I’ve lived here for going on 30 years and grew up the same distance from Buffalo NY. It’s like my life went full circle! Upton is a gorgeous area!!! If you’re ever in the hood here, let me know. Would love to meet you! Robyn