I will not watch the Patriots, I will not watch the Patriots, I will not watch the Patriots. I’ve been repeating this mantra and testing my resolve since November, but my gripe is not specifically with the team. It’s the National Football League that I can no longer support.
Here I am, in Patriot Nation, hoping that the Pats will flaunt another Super Bowl win in NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s face, but the league’s indifference to the health of its players is infuriating me. How can I support a business that’s uncompromising in its policies about pain relief while its employees develop devastating addictions?
In November, the NFL gave Buffalo Bills offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson a 10-game suspension for violating its drug policy after he tested positive for marijuana, a substance he said he uses to relieve pain.
I’ve been angry at the NFL before, particularly for its seemingly arbitrary rulingabout Tom Brady’s footballs, but I got over that after watching the first two games of the season. Henderson’s suspension, however, was the final straw.
Henderson suffers from Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract. Given that his condition was aggressive enough to require the removal of 30 inches of his colon, it’s a safe bet that this disease causes him a lot of pain. His surgery caused him to lose almost 50 pounds, and he wore an ileostomy bag until his intestines were reattached in a second surgery.