With the Super Bowl approaching, it comes time to defend it. In some circles, this isn’t a challenge. In others, you have to justify how you can watch something with a clean conscience when the people behind and on the screen do bad things. So, basically, watching the championship game of the National Football League is exactly the same experience as watching a Woody Allen movie.
And so, for those of you who cannot (for the life of you) understand how anyone could possibly support a sporting organization whose star athletes beat women and children, kill people, drink and drive, smoke drugs, and more, then I’ve created this simple guide for how you can determine how you should feel about the National Football League, based on how you feel about Woody Allen.
Not Liking the NFL Because You Just Don’t Like It is Like Not Watching Woody Allen Films Because You Just Don’t Like Them
The first, simplest category to fall into. Some people don’t watch football just because, you know, they don’t really like football. It’s not for them. And that’s how some people are with Woody Allen.
Midnight in Paris? A little obvious. Annie Hall? Boring. Denver vs. Carolina? Does it matter?
Not Watching the NFL on Principle is like Not Watching Woody Allen Films on Principle
Maybe you used to watch the NFL…up until the concussion scandals became too much. Maybe you used to like Woody Allen… before you read an editorial in the New York Times by his daughter who claims to have been abused by him as a child.
If you think that there is no tolerance for Woody Allen, then it makes sense that you also think there is no tolerance for the National Football League.
Apologetically Watching the NFL and Feeling Guilty is like Apologetically Watching Woody Allen Movies and Feeling Guilty
To be an NFL apologist is akin to being a Woody Allen apologist. Sure, the man behind Blue Jasmine and Manhattan has done some bad things. Sure, the National Football League has done some bad things.
Taking this approach is like being a Roman Polanski fan (he’s an admitted rapist) or an Apple consumer (their factory conditions are accepted as wildly unethical). You’re separating the art from the artist. You’re proclaiming that yes, sometimes, exploitation leads to progress. You’re openly admitting that flawed people or organizations are benefiting from your consumption but hey, worse things have happened.
Thinking The NFL Hasn’t Done Anything THAT Bad is Like Woody Allen Hasn’t Really Done Anything THAT Bad
As evidenced by the list so far, you can view Woody Allen in a multitude of ways. But there is one perspective into which I haven’t full delved: Woody Allen, yes, is married to the adopted daughter of Mia Farrow, with whom he had other adopted children. But… is there really evidence that he abused his daughter?
This perspective is not limited to conspiracy theorists or victim blamers. A multitude of journalists, filmmakers, and fans believe that the Woody Allen abuse allegations are fabrications, invented by his ex-wife Mia Farrow as part of a smear campaign that re-surfaces and escalates anytime Allen is receiving positive media attention.
This is a different version of being a Woody Allen apologist than the “art is separate from the artist” apologist. Sure, there isn’t really any getting around the fact that Allen’s current marriage to his ex-lover’s adopted daughter is, well, bizarre. Just like there isn’t getting around Adrian Peterson’s abuse of his son or the concerning reaction that the NFL has taken to the research regarding concussions.
But are all the allegations true? And the ones that are true, can they be forgiven?
Can Adrian Peterson’s mistakes be overlooked? Can we forgive Woody Allen for marrying his ex-lover’s adopted daughter, assuming that the unproven allegations regarding his daughter are false?
And are we more inclined to forgive the talented? Do we take a kinder approach when we like someone’s art?
This is where the consumer has a responsibility. Taking a step back, reading all the articles available about Woody Allen or the National Football League and deciding what you think the truth is, and making an informed, thoughtful decision.
Just Not Caring About Anything the NFL Did Wrong is Like Just Not Caring About Anything Woody Allen Did Wrong
There’s a fifth option, of course. Just consuming the media you like and ignoring what anyone says. You know, like a Trump voter.