It's been a very trying couple of weeks for the NFL. Domestic violence, child abuse, a weakened commissioner, and sponsors and governors alike criticizing the League's handling of the sociopathic headlines, have all but taken the focus off the games themselves.
Operative words in that previous sentence: all but.
The simple reality is that deep down, nobody cares.
The fans don't care - if they did care, they'd tune out or tear up their tickets.
The owners don't care - if they did, they'd fire the commissioner.
The sponsors don't care - if they did, they'd pull their ads.
Football just chugs along, like a great big running back rumbling toward the end zone.
For some perspective, consider this: a decade ago, Kobe Bryant was accused of sexually assaulting a hotel employee in Eagle, Colorado.
I attended his first game after he was charged with that crime. It was a preseason exhibition game at the Honda Center in Anaheim.
Astonishingly, thousands in the crowd, children included, wore Kobe jerseys, and shouted their applause and love for their accused star.
I found it bewildering that a man charged with rape of a 19-year-old would be the subject of so much adulation. Kids and parents alike surely knew about the crime of which Kobe, a married man, had been accused.
But nobody cared.
Actually, people did care, but in a most perverse way.
They seemed to be applauding Kobe for being accused with a serious, serious crime.
Applauding Kobe was a little like taking a (slow-speed) victory lap after O.J. Simpson had been found not guilty.
The Honda Center was filled with a perverse delight in an individual getting over on society, not having to play by the rules.
I think the scandals involving the NFL over the last few weeks indicate the same kind of anti-authoritarianism, which is sickening.
Ray Rice actually punched his wife out in a hotel elevator. Knocked her out cold. His initial punishment: missing two games.
And in New Jersey, where his KO took place, he wasn't even charged with a crime.
What if someone who wasn't a football star savaged his wife, or any other human being, in that manner?
Adrian Peterson, another star, beat both of his four-year-old sons so badly that he was charged with child abuse.
But even people who were disturbed by what Peterson did were prepared to let him skate.
His team, the Minnesota Vikings, planned to play him the following Sunday, but only reversed course when the state's governor called foul.
There have been murmurs in Congress about eliminating the NFL's tax-exempt status, which is a joke, because that's never going to happen.
NFL sponsors made some noise about the inadequacy of the League's responses to these scandals, but what they're really upset about is that the League hasn't made the headlines go away fast enough.
Various media blowhards have called for Roger Goodell, the NFL Commissioner to resign, but he won't, because the owners don't care enough about the scandals to get rid of him.
So here's what you can expect next: Nothing.
The games will go on. The stars will accept slaps on the wrist for their violence against their own loved ones. The turnstiles will turn, the fantasy players will continue to live in their fantasy worlds, and ratings will remain high.
The NFL is the dominant means by which advertisers connect with men via live TV.
So why should anyone let an unconscious wife, or two badly beaten four-year-old half-brothers, stand in the way?
The biggest example of sociopathic behavior related to the NFL has nothing to do with Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson. It has to do with us, because we're all content to turn a blind eye to this stuff and watch the next game.
And for the NFL, after a couple of weeks of really bad news, that's the best news of all.