The Show Goes On: NFL free agency rolls through controversial time

Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. (25) motions as he leaves the field after the game against the Tennessee Titans at Empower Field at Mile High.
Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. (25) motions as he leaves the field after the game against the Tennessee Titans at Empower Field at Mile High. Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

When the clock struck 4 p.m. EST on March 18, the NFL’s famed free agency period officially begun. Of course, it’s unofficially been going on for the better part of last 10 days or so. In other words, that Tom Brady is going to be a Buc or Chris Harris Jr is leaving the Broncos to become a Charger were all but factual long before the official mark.

Whether these transactions happened, didn’t happen or were official or unofficial isn’t necessarily the news of the day. In fact, sports in general isn’t the news of the day. In a country (and planet) that’s being ravaged by the coronavirus, talking sports has become a sensitive subject.

Should we?

Can we?

And, oh by the way, how dare the NFL – a game for all intents and purposes and for crying out loud – carry on with business as usual amidst such global chaos?

But before you answer that, ask yourself this: Is your email browser open? Your cell phone on?Your radar up?

If your answer is “no”, well, then be as critical as you like.

But it’s its “yes”, then let’s think this one through.

Everyone with a job is dealing with some type of product or service. Whether you’re buying it, selling it, performing it or improving it, you and everyone else has to work on something. Sure, the NFL’s product is “just a game.” And sure, it’s owners, players and executives make obscene amounts of money.

But who’s fault is that?

Yours. And mine.

The NFL’s product has been so well consumed by us, that the procedure and money involved shouldn’t come as a surprise, much less an insult. Right or wrong, we enabled this.

This is not the time to be mad at the NFL for carrying on its own business. If games were being played, then that’s a different story (see the NBA, NHL and MLB currently), but since this is the NFL’s offseason, I’m not so sure we should be so critical of what’s taking place in free agency.

On the surface, it might seem insensitive to discuss Graham Glasgow’s new $44 million deal with the Broncos especially when bar and restaurant employees can’t even go to work much less get paid. However, if what an NFL player makes is a source of irritation, now just seems like a more convenient time to gripe. Playing offensive line for the Broncos seems less important than teaching kids to read, being a skilled surgeon or, well, insert whatever profession you value here. But we’ve always believed that, haven’t we?

Being upset at the NFL for carrying on with free agency is akin to being angry with any business or employee simply doing what they do each and every March – sending emails, making calls, building, buying, selling. And if money is the issue, again, this is very own fault. We’re the ones who have essentially written these monstrous checks for years.

Besides, one can only watch CNN so much. There’s nothing wrong with taking a timeout and daydreaming about September, when Phillip Lindsay darts past Glasgow’s right hip just before juking Harris Jr. once he’s broken into the Chargers secondary. Even in times like these, we need distractions. We don’t really need guilt (does anyone know the right way to handle this most-bizarre situation?).

I get it. Nobody likes to hear about the 20-something set to make more than most of us will ever make in a lifetime, particularly in a time we’re pondering whether or not we’ll have a job a month from now.

But to some degree, the show must go on – or at least, go on as best it can.

Don’t be mad at the NFL for that.

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