To my football friends:

I know that football season is here. I’m still writing. I will still read. I tolerate sports. Think about it like this. I could never rely on sports to connect with other men. It never happened. When I did make it to these games, I had hell getting up and down those idiotic and hot bleachers.

My body hurt just sitting on the things. I can watch band stuff all day. That is a true performance art. I admire anyone who wants to brave the heat to play music and do formations. Better you than me. I have arthritis. Standing that long isn’t good for me.

Don’t bring me there and plan to not at least talk to me about the team, the players, or something else. Don’t stick me in a corner and abandon me. I am not luggage. I’m a person. Don’t make excuses and don’t get scared.

I can stay at home if that’s the case. Talk to me. You people get so click-ish when you bring me to these “communal” sports events.

I’m not lost. I know the basics about the “downs”. If you don’t talk with me about why you like football, what excuse have I got to waste hours of my life?

Football connects many people. That’s all well and good. But I should not have to hate myself if I feel like it gets a tad repetitive.

I know how I sound. But I’m an artist. There isn’t much for me to analyze when I watch a football game. This is why halftime shows exist. All there is, is you. You’re yelling and screaming and knocking over people because a flag was thrown. It all so weird. Is every game just me watching you have convulsions? I know I have CP, but it’s not that theatrical.

I love to watch people make excuses for themselves when it’s obvious that I’m not a sportsman. I have to really try not to laugh.

I’m a writer, and I know that with the right attitude, people can make watching paint dry interesting if they wanted to. So don’t give me that story that I’m weird because you can’t find the words to say.

I’m not mad. I wanted you to know what I know. Hopefully, you will drop the act. It is an act. And let me explain how I know. Millions of us are burning Nike apparel because they gave a African-American football player an ad campaign. How is that for symbolism?

If football is supposed to unite American people, why is what Nike does so important? Nike does not pay a single bill in my house. I cannot even afford to spend money on most of what Nike sells and aside from the fact that I got gifted a set of Nike socks years ago, I don’t see why social media is so butt-hurt over a man whose last name I can’t spell. Football is a sport. And although team sports are designed to make people find common ground, people are re-appropriating it for social division. I’m not divided over sports. I’m divided about the irony that what happens with professional people in a sport does not mirror completely what happens to the common-man. Common men do not have a publicist. Common people cannot pay legal fees. Common people might watch football on network television. But common people don’t always get organizations like the ACLU or the NAACP to take their cases. We have reached a point in our media immersion where if there isn’t enough pathos surrounding an issue, it gets tabled or flat-out abandoned.

The reason football is so synonymous with American imagery is all about some non-progressive ideology that says just because we are using the American flag as am object of flagrant display, we lose our American-ness. Many of us only needed to learn the first stanza of the National Anthem. Ask most citizens why we sing it at sporting events, and you might be surprised at the bland, non-descript, vapid, shallow answers we’ll get.

To be fair, I understand the need to want to place American sports into this never-dying idol worship place, but everyone deserves a right to disagree with whether football should be that important.

While I have mercy on those players and coaches that make it their life’s journey to coach and participate in this sport. I also balk at the idea that everyone has to be into it with the same intensity and rigor that some others are. You have your sports, I have my books, lit, and art. If I can praise a book, you can have your football. But even I know how to balance my love of literature with the notion that not everyone is gonna be thrilled about the last book I read. And while reading is not as headline worthy as the next superbowl. Shouldn’t we all use this Nike disagreement as a teaching moment to show some of us how we have let a business like football take precedence over basic human character. Are we building people up to educate them? Or are we still building people up to exploit them?

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