PITTSBURGH (93-7 THE FAN) — The NFL can’t take a hard stance on calling Las Vegas a seedy place anymore.
The NFL simply cannot tell us that the place I so adore in Southern Nevada is some kind of ropey, repugnant and objectionable area.
No, it just can’t. To do so would be the height of hypocrisy.
But, hey, it really isn’t news to anyone that NFL commish Roger Goodell — who I generally like — makes his own rules for the most part.
The latest intersection of the NFL and hypocrisy came at the glorious intersection of Las Vegas Blvd. and Tropicana Ave. last week when some players — notably Steelers ageless linebacker and general pest to the league office James Harrison — participated in an arm wrestling tournament at the MGM Grand. Maurkice Pouncey was apparently also there along with a host of other NFL players in the event that is scheduled to air on CBS late next month.
Now, the NFL has a problem with the arm wrestling thing — not so much the arm wrestling, but that it happened in a casino and falls out of bounds as it pertains to the anti-gambling policy of the league.
“Had we been asked in advance if this was acceptable, we would have indicated that it was in direct violation of the gambling policy,” Joe Lockhart, the NFL’s executive vice president for communications and public affairs, told USA Today. “No one sought pre-approval.”
Right, Joe. No one did. Because you probably would have told them “no.”
You would have told them they couldn’t.
Know why? As it pertains to Las Vegas, the NFL is the height of hypocrisy.
The NFL used the have some teeth to the argument that it didn’t want its players to be associated with anything Vegas; that simply doing so would give off the impression that the league was OK with gambling.
Oh the humanity!
Our impressionable players traveling to a place that could sully and tarnish their minds, flesh and morals to the degree that the NFL would look bad!
Yeah, well, you can forget that now.
You see, when the NFL decided that the Raiders were OK to up and move from Oakland for a stadium within an eyeshot of some of the casinos on the Strip, the league smashed to pieces any facade of some moral compass it had. It smashed it to bits and then those bits to bits.
When the fine people of Southern Nevada came up with more than $700 million (in taxpayer funds) the NFL gladly accepted, just as they will accept taxes in the future generated from those rooms people stay in at those very same casino hotels the NFL claims to abhor and detest.
Give me break. Get over yourself, NFL.
Make no mistake, James Harrison and Maurkice Pouncey might have broken a rule the NFL had by participating in this whole arm wrestling thing, but if the league goes ahead and tries to levy any sort of punishment against them, it will ring incredibly hollow and two-faced.
And I know just the man to call them out on it. His name: James Harrison.
Colin Dunlap is a featured columnist at CBSPittsburgh.com. He can also be heard weekdays from 5:40 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sports Radio 93-7 “The Fan.” You can e-mail him at email@example.com. Check out his bio here.