NFL Gives Out Sobering Case Of Hypocrisy

By Bernie Lincicomb
Updated: June 2, 2007

COLORADO — To make it clear, football is not against alcohol, not the kind that pays it so much money to be its friend.

There might yet be another Bud Bowl if the price is right, and who doesn’t miss those little beer bottles bopping around? My favorite was the one that wore Tom Landry’s hat.

Coors may or may not still be the official beer of the NFL. I have lost track. But if it is, it may not be served at any team functions or consumed by any player, coach, official or guest when a team is picking up the check.

I don’t know what Miller thinks about this, but it still gives us Man Laws from old coaches and quarterbacks, and it still shows up on Monday Night Football.

My suspicion is that MGD invented tailgating, or at least the portable chair with the beer holders in the arms. Maybe not.

I know this. Without beer, there would be no need for the holder. And without beer, there would be no NFL.

Alcohol and football have always been armchair in armchair, and now the new commissioner is pulling back from actually, you know, drinking the stuff.

Alcohol serves, to use Roger Goodell’s words, “no constructive purpose,” and so it is forthwith banned.

Well, of course it serves no constructive purpose. That is pretty much the purpose of it. I’m thinking that cholesterol, the bad kind, serves no constructive purpose, either, and so I do not expect to see snacks and hot dogs in the press dining room, even when officially sponsored.

And I will miss that postgame pizza.

As the price of gasoline climbs, General Motors still boasts its SUVs and trucks as the official vehicles of the NFL. But would we not all be more constructively served if teams walked to the game or rode bicycles?

Everyone might be more aware of the dangers of alcohol than of credit cards, but the excesses of the second can be just as destructive, certainly not constructive, as the first. So I expect every team to be taking ticket orders by cash, check or power of attorney.

And, of course, Visa may no longer claim any connection to any of the eight teams it now does, including the Broncos. Or to the Super Bowl. Or the Pro Bowl. Or the NFL draft.

If you paid attention to where the NFL gets its money, it would seem to come from a maxed-out, drunken driver of a gas guzzler, which is, after all, not that far off.

You do have to wonder just how far Mr. DoGoodell will go.

He is obviously against bad people doing bad things, as seen by his suspension of three NFL players for doing bad things, including Adam “Pacman” Jones for a year, though he did have a kind word for Tank Johnson.

If integrity is the theme of the new commissionership, then refusing to drink the products that help pay the freight would seem to be at least hypocritical and very likely a breach of contract.

For honesty in advertising, Coors would have to include on any can with an NFL logo, “not for consumption by the NFL.”

The NFL is against gambling, so it says loudly and often. But it accommodates gamblers with its injury reports, and it knows that it is the most popular game because it is the easiest to bet on.

If not for gambling, football would be lawn groping without witnesses.

Knowing this, the NFL has signs in every locker room reminding players of its restrictions on gambling. Now it should, just to be evenhanded, post signs reminding players that drinking is bad, too, as if there is not sufficient literature on the subject.

This is really in response not to anything football-related (though most NFL arrests have alcohol involved somewhere, so do most arrests) but to the death of St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock, who drove while drunk and died.

Baseball has left it up to individual teams whether to ban beer from clubhouses, while football has never allowed beer in locker rooms. It is very likely that neither policy has changed anything, even perception.

Other sports are less phony, taking the money without judging. Auto racing welcomes beer and whiskey advertising on its cars. The Indy 500 winner was driving a car sponsored by Canadian Club.

What could be a worse message than driving and drinking?

The NFL does not want to look like it condones bad behavior, including drinking. Well, of course it doesn’t. No one thinks it does. It condones behavior on the field that would be worthy of arrest off it, but that’s another column.

Still, it cannot pretend to be moral and righteous and yet profit from the very thing it is denouncing.

Man Law.