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The NFL Is A Confused Helicopter Parent

The league’s new social media rules reveal a league with misplaced priorities, afraid of itself

Image via CBS

The National Football League’s military-style austerity has seeped into yet another bizarrely unfitting space. Sunday marked the final week in which teams and players can post original video highlights, GIFs, and in-stadium live-streaming content on social media.


According to a league memo obtained by ESPN and Mashable, individual clubs will face a $25,000 fine for an initial violation of the new social media policy, with repeat offenses topping out at $100,000.

Teams will be able to post such items only after the NFL has made the content available on its central server, and the league says it is aiming to provide vastly more content than ever. It’s part of the league’s effort to balance obligations to its advertisers and sponsors while adjusting to the demands of an evolving media and social media landscape.

At least the NFL is trying to address the issue, though the design and implementation of the policy is sloppy at best. Levying those levels of fines for something the teams do to generate and maintain interest in the sport is asinine—consider that fines for posting an illicit GIF will exceed those levied for illegal hits and headhunting.

To recount, through five weeks of the season, we’ve already seen Antonio Brown get fined for twerking and Chandler Jones catch a flag for participating in a “choreographed demonstration,” the league’s apparent parlance for doing the Charleston after recovering a fumble against your former team. Meanwhile, there is still no cogent or even vaguely comprehensible policy against domestic violence, officials are only whispering the letters C, T and E after a recent legal settlement with 200 former players, and no one knows what a catch is—priorities!

Who is breathing a sigh of relief that their favorite receiver has been discouraged from dancing? Who won’t purchase a jersey until that player is declared weed-free by a test that is more than three times stricter than that of the U.S. military and 10 times stricter than the Olympics’ anti-doping agency?

Aside from imposing draconian standards on its players, the league’s misguided attempt to apply arbitrary, air-tight morality to its product is forcing viewers to be fans of fantasy football, NFL RedZone, their home NFL team, and the idea of football in a vacuum—without showing any brand allegiance to the NFL itself. Despite the barrier to fandom being lower than it’s ever been (due, ironically, to social media and digital innovation), saying that you actually like the NFL itself is increasingly uncool.

Take Brown, who has become one of the league’s most magnetic personalities through creative touchdown celebrations, imaginative haircuts, and his adorable public relationship with his son. Unless any non-wide receiver behavior passes the meticulous atomization of NFL branding, the Antonio Brown pushed by NFL channels does nothing but catch footballs and run fast.

I will always be an ardent fan of football. It’s a uniquely poetic game that masterfully balances discipline with somatic theory and patience with tingling anticipation. The NFL either fails to understand that its product is escapist entertainment or thinks that there’s some 21st century sociopolitical tidal wave coming to tear its product down. Both lines of thinking are self defeating.

The walls being built around football get bigger and more fortified by the week. One can only hope that they don’t get too large to obstruct your view of the game.

Sports
via Honor Africans / Twitter

The problem with American Sign Language (ASL) is that over 500,000 people in the U.S. use it, but the country has over 330 million people.

So for those with hearing loss, the chances of coming into contact with someone who uses the language are rare. Especially outside of the deaf community.

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Looking back, the year 1995 seems like such an innocent time. America was in the midst of its longest streak of peace and prosperity. September 11, 2001 was six years away, and the internet didn't seem like much more than a passing fad.

Twenty-four years ago, 18 million U.S. homes had modem-equipped computers, 7 million more than the year before. Most logged in through America Online where they got their email or communicated with random strangers in chat rooms.

According to a Pew Research study that year, only 32% of those who go online say they would miss it "a lot" if no longer available.

Imagine what those poll numbers would look like if the question was asked today.

RELATED: Bill and Melinda Gates had a surprising answer when asked about a 70 percent tax on the wealthiest Americans

"Few see online activities as essential to them, and no single online feature, with the exception of E-Mail, is used with any regularity," the Pew article said. "Consumers have yet to begin purchasing goods and services online, and there is little indication that online news features are changing traditional news consumption patterns."

"Late Night" host David Letterman had Microsoft founder and, at that time the richest man in the world, on his show for an interview in '95 to discuss the "the big new thing."

During the interview Letterman chided Gates about the usefulness of the new technology, comparing it to radio and tape recorders.

Gates seems excited by the internet because it will soon allow people to listen to a baseball game on their computer. To which Letterman smugly replies, "Does radio ring a bell?" to laughter from the crowd.

But Gates presses Letterman saying that the new technology allows you to listen to the game "whenever you want," to which Letterman responds, "Do tape recorders ring a bell?"

Gates then tells Letterman he can keep up with the latest in his favorite hobbies such as cigar smoking or race cars through the internet. Letterman shuts him down saying that he reads about his interests in magazines.

RELATED: Bill Gates has five books he thinks you should read this summer.

The discussion ends with the two laughing over meeting like-minded people in "troubled loner chat room on the internet."

The clip brings to mind a 1994 segment on "The Today Show" where host Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric have a similar discussion.

"What is internet anyway?" an exasperated Gumball asks. "What do you write to it like mail?"

"It's a computer billboard but it's nationwide and it's several universities all joined together and it's getting bigger and bigger all the time," a producer explains from off-stage.





Culture
Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

The future generations will have to live on this Earth for years to come, and, not surprisingly, they're very concerned about the fate of our planet. We've seen a rise in youth activists, such as Greta Thunberg, who are raising awareness for climate change. A recent survey indicates that those efforts are working, as more and more Americans (especially young Americans) feel concerned about climate change.

A new CBS News poll found that 70% of Americans between 18 and 29 feel climate change is a crisis or a serious problem, while 58% of Americans over the age of 65 share those beliefs. Additionally, younger generations are more likely to feel like it's their personal responsibility to address climate change, as well as think that transitioning to 100% renewable energy is viable. Overall, 25% of Americans feel that climate change is a "crisis," and 35% feel it is a "serious problem." 10% of Americans said they think climate change is a minor problem, and 16% of Americans feel it is not a problem that worries them.

The poll found that concern for the environment isn't a partisan issue – or at least when it comes to younger generations. Two-thirds of Republicans under the age of 45 feel that addressing climate change is their duty, sentiments shared by only 38% of Republicans over the age of 45.

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