Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Place of Satire in Recent NFL News

In the wake of widely publicized abuse cases involving Ray Rice, Greg Hardy, Ray McDonald, Adrian Peterson and Jonathan Dwyer, the culture the National Football League has instilled, protected and enabled has crumbled over the past few weeks. And hopefully for good.

The macho man bravado of the football patriarchy run by men for men has taken a very public turn towards the instability that many critical of the sports world have long warned. 

There has been hard-hitting reporting, speculation, a rise in the opportunity for female voices to be heard in the sports media, plenty of good commentary and plenty of cringe-worthy commentary, among so much more. Packaged right along with it all has been the satirical takes on the recent happenings, providing an important and needed perspective.

For a long while now, people and organizations in the public eye have dreaded having anything they've done spotlighted by the likes of Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and even South Park and Saturday Night Live. Now with John Oliver putting those people and organizations on weekly blast, the television satire scene seems to be thriving. And that's just television.

Enter the sports world -- and NFL, specifically -- which has had quite the month. Stewart and Oliver have taken now viral shots at the league and commissioner Roger Goodell for the handling of the aforementioned abuse cases. 

Oliver went directly after Goodell's near-unanimously disastrous Friday press conference. While surely not everyone watched Goodell's press conference, Oliver was able to show how Goodell basically said nothing of any substance, simply talking in generalities about change and being a leader while offering no specifics on how that will happen. 

Stewart went in a slightly different direction with the NFL, taking on the rollercoaster of the Peterson case. This was a week after he outlined the hypocrisy of the NFL's arguments about whether or not they had seen the second Rice tape. While Oliver pointed out that it's troubling how TMZ acted as the moral compass for the league in Rice's case, Stewart took to the NFL's dollars, pointing out that the NFL ramped up action on Peterson after Anheuser Busch issued a strongly worded statement condemning the case's handling.

Potentially missed in the week's churning news cycle was a commercial run during the Philadelphia-Washington game Sunday promoting the upcoming season of South Park. The commercial, ostensibly just a clip of what's to come, openly mocked Washington's owner Dan Snyder for his continued defense of the team's offensive nickname. While just a commercial, the short and sweet commentary was a welcomed, politically charged discourse to cap the week even while the "distraction" of games was occurring. 

These satirical perspectives on the NFL's current issues (and all issues) is of great importance. Many people shy away from "talking politics" or just perceived heavy topics in general; they just want to GET BACK TO FOOTBALL and keep anything off-field out of their consciousness. Satire allows a way to frame the issues in a different way that may open more people up to discuss these important issues when done well.

In the case of the NFL, people are talking. But will the culture change?


Kevin Rossi is a senior Drexel Sport Management major with minors in communication and business administration. Since joining the SMTSU, Kevin has worked his way up the ladder to president and now serves as a senior adviser for the group. Currently, Kevin is serving as the Athletic Communications Assistant for Drexel Athletics. Kevin has writing experience with,, The Triangle, Temple University, and various outlets in a freelance capacity. Follow Kevin on Twitter @kevin_rossi.

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1 comment:

  1. Being any sort of a celebrity seems like it would be rough in this world. Anyone can pull out their phone and catch you in the act of doing anything. Even if you aren't doing anything.