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The No Fun League Continues...Sigh

By Mike Sullivan

There is a commonly used phrase about the National Football League. It’s a clever play on the NFL acronym.

No Fun League. 

This funny phrase is commonly used when fans refer to the league being way too strict. I mean, where do we even begin? The league frowns upon any type of celebration and is also extremely petty and strict about what players can and cannot do. Their gambling policy is often criticized. They won’t even let their players make promotional appearances at casinos or other gambling-related establishments. Yet they are happy to take advertising money from corporations like MGM.

You see, the NFL loves control. They want to have complete authoritative power over their players. At all costs. That’s why they’re fining some players for participating in a fun event in Las Vegas earlier this month.

There were a number of NFL players who participated in a made-for-TV arm wrestling tournament earlier this month at a nightclub in a Las Vegas casino. These players will be fined, pending further investigation, a league source told ESPN.

More than 30 current and former NFL players participated in the Pro Football Arm Wrestling Championship, which was a 4-day event at Hakkasan, a nightclub inside the MGM Grand Casino. Keep in mind that the NFL takes money from MGM for advertising. A prime example is the Detroit Lions who have an MGM Grand sponsored fan tunnel experience on game days.

But here’s the part that doesn’t make sense. League personnel are prohibited from making promotional appearances at casinos or other gambling-related establishments. The policy is stated in the player manuals that are distributed to all players. The policy pertains to all NFL personnel. The NFL said it did not become aware of the arm wrestling event until the contest had already begun.

So… players can’t do appearances at MGM for free, for charity, or for money. Yet the NFL can accept money from casinos. That makes a lot of sense, right? Not.

Take it a step further. We now have an NFL franchise that will be moving to Vegas. The NFL has said it has not changed its gambling policy, even after the approved relocation of the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas.


You’re probably curious about the participating players who will seemingly be getting fined.

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison, running back Marshawn Lynch were billed as team coaches. Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills, Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey, Raiders punter Marquette King, Raiders defensive end Mario Edwards and New England Patriots safety Patrick Chung also participated.

This is yet another example of the NFL being condescending and directly into the No Fun League phrase.

God forbid players have some fun and participate in a harmless arm wresting contest, which fans seemed to enjoy. Of course the NFL got mad at this. It wasn’t their idea. They can’t just look at it and say “Hey, you know what, that looked fun. No harm done.”

Nope. Instead they have to be the big bad wolf and fine everyone who participated in it. I’m really getting sick of this controlling attitude the league has.

It’s time to make steps to remove the No Fun League. But it all starts with the league itself. They need to lighten up and have more fun. It would make things a lot better, and make their PR image look a lot cleaner.

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