With ratings dropping and fan opinions of professional sports plummeting the NFL is deeply intent on continuing the on field social signaling that is repelling more fans. Now they have become ensnared in a PR fiasco. To display how cement-headed things have become we present to you our new NFL stage Production, ”GET WOKE, LOOK BROKE”, a play in three acts.

 

ACT 1

The NFL as a league decided they would take a cue from the NBA and permit teams to wear social messaging on the helmets. The back pad at the base of the headgear would be a location permitted for displaying the names of individuals who were ‘‘victims of systemic racism or police violence”.  Tyler Eifert of the Jacksonville Jaguars threw a curveball on this decision (yes, we realize the use of a fractured metaphor here, so shut up) by displaying the name of David Dorn, a POC officer who was killed in the riots.

Now while the league proposal said that there would be a variety of names permitted, the Pittsburgh Steelers decided as a team they would all wear the same name. There was a victim of a police shooting in 2018 in the Pittsburgh area – Antwon Rose Jr. Rose was the passenger in a car during a traffic stop. As he was fleeing the police opened fire and killed Rose in the process.

 

ACT 2

On Sunday when The Steelers faced the Giants offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva created a small stir when it was seen that he had taped over Rose’s name and had placed another in its place. He sported the name Alwyn Cashe. This is not shocking, as Villanueva is a West Point graduate and former Army Ranger. He also has been recognized in the past as being one of the few players willing to stand for the anthem.

Villanueva wanted to honor the life of a fallen soldier. Cashe died from injuries incurred as he was on fire and pulling out soldiers from a vehicle that had been struck in battle.

The decision by Villanueva was approved by head Coach Mike Tomlin, but it was met with criticism. “I was surprised by what Al did,” defensive end Cameron Heyward said. “I did not know about Al’s choice for the back of his helmet,” quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. “Obviously, that’s his choice,” Roethlisberger added. “That’s the amazing thing about the country we live in. Unfortunately, it is what it is.”

Unfortunately.

Also seeing a problem with Villanueva’s decision was the mother of Antwon Rose Jr., Michelle Kenny. She posted her opinions on the matter on FaceBook.

Let me very very very clear. The Pittsburgh Steelers took a team vote. Obviously one person didn’t like the results so they chose to do something different…But this one person showed us exactly who he is and obviously he didn’t approve of how the vote turned out…While he was so busy being negative what it actually did now forced more people to engage in this conversation.

Then, after declaring, ”That’s for his coach, team and organization to address NOT ME!”, Ms. Kenny promised, ”I’m going to use this negative press and negativity to motivate me to hold the Pittsburgh Steelers even more accountable!!!”

It is not clear what the team needs to be accountable for, but if dozens of players honoring the memory of her son is not enough I suppose she has more to do…? It is rather curious that honoring a POC Army vet who died with honor and posthumously received the Silver Star is considered ”negative”.

 

   ACT 3

With the focus on Villanueva the details were only gradually arrived at, but eventually a realization is coming over some. It has been learned that on the day he was shot Antwon Rose Jr. had been been recently involved in a drive-by shooting. The car he was in had been pulled over not for a routine moving violation but as a felony traffic stop. It fit the description called in from the shooting, and they were pulled over minutes after the incident.

Rose had a gun in his possession when shot, and two other weapons were found in the car. One of the guns had been stolen during an armed robbery earlier that day. It seems rather curious that the team would be unaware of details such as these given the events occurred over two years ago and could be researched prior to making their decision.

Thinking?! This is purely about emotion, and symbolic signaling. As a result, Villanueva is looking like the wiser individual with better character. While Antwon Rose’s mother may suggest, ”Maybe you are playing for the wrong team”, it looks apparent the team had chosen the wrong hero for them to honor.