The anguish of Saints fans is nothing compared to the “intentional infliction of emotional distress” that people of color in America have had to live with.
Some New Orleans Saints fans filed lawsuits on Tuesday, claiming that the NFL must be forced to pay for the pain and suffering inflicted on Saints fans by the egregious “no call” on what should have been a pass interference penalty. That missed call essentially halted the team’s march to the Super Bowl, bringing anguish, anger and suffering to its rabid fan base.
Can someone please explain to me how this isn’t pass interference? Refs 23, Saints 23. pic.twitter.com/2lqZJZ64ye
— Adam Herbets (@AdamHerbets) January 20, 2019
My first reaction to this news was simply, “Hey Saints fans, welcome to the world of being a person of color in America.”
The first suit, filed in Orleans Parish Civil District Court, claims the named plaintiffs, Tommy Badeaux and Candis Lambert, demanded a hearing over the officiating in the waning minutes of regulation.
With NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league itself as defendants, the plaintiffs want compensation for past, present and future mental anguish and emotional trauma, “loss of enjoyment of life” and “distrust of the game which has become the national pastime.”
As a long-suffering New York Knicks fan, I can relate to the anguish that many feel when their teams lose a big game.
But these lawsuits are beyond absurd.
The sports world is perpetually filled with no-calls that have altered history, the most egregious being what the 1972 American Olympic basketball team experienced in Munich against the Soviets in the Gold Medal game.
There’s also Diego Maradona’s Hand of God, where in a 1986 World Cup quarterfinal, Argentina and England had played 50 scoreless minutes.
In the 51st, Maradona, the Argentine legend, sped onto a miscued England clearance that was looping toward the English goalkeeper. Maradona leapt and punched it past the ‘keeper’s fingertips and ran away wildly in celebration.
The apopleptic English players looked to the referee to dismiss the handball, but he missed the call.
Those two examples are among the most egregious, but each season in every major sport, you’re bound to have a reason to complain about the officiating.
“The impact of the non-call is egregious and demands recourse,” states one of the lawsuits, filed by attorney Frank D’Amico Jr.
“As a direct result of the said incident, plaintiffs herein have been left bereft and with no faith in the National Football League for fairness despite the league’s own rules to correct such errors, along with emotional anguish (and) monetary loss for ticket holders, who purchase tickets with the presumption of integrity and fairness.”
Terrible calls have led to lawsuits in the past from angry fans, all of which have failed.
But it’s more than ironic that NFL fans are claiming that they’ve been defrauded by the league’s failure to enforce its own rules.
And the irony lies in the fact that Colin Kaepernick took a respectful knee in silent protest, claiming that people of color in America have been defrauded by the country’s insistence on not living up to its promise of liberty and justice for all.
The second lawsuit, fashioned as a class action, names as defendants the NFL, the NFL Referees Association and the four NFL officials on the field. It claims that the league can’t be trusted to be above-board when investigating the misdeeds of its teams or officials.
Given the NFL’s history of denying CTE and brain trauma until the evidence became irrefutable, along with the practice of team doctors pushing highly addictive pain killers in order to get injured players back on the field, it’s pretty apparent that the NFL will never police itself in the way that it should.
But for all of those fans that boo’d Kaepernick and contributed to his being blackballed, their screams of “intentional infliction of emotional distress” and “mental anguish” are now falling on both deaf and tickled ears in certain segments of the population.
The lawsuits are demanding compensation for the cost of game tickets, parking, hotels, travel, and lost earnings for business owners.
With the NFL serving as a microcosm of society, people of color in America have long demanded an accounting of the misdeeds and atrocities that have historically been visited upon us, to no avail.
So Saints fans, welcome to a tiny sliver of injustice that many have experienced with much more dire consequences for hundreds of years.
Perhaps if Drew Brees took a respectful knee next season in silent protest of the officiating in the NFC Championship game, you’d be behind him 100%.
Meanwhile, the anguish you now feel is nothing compared to the “intentional infliction of emotional distress” that people of color in America have been instructed to live with for centuries.
Who Dat, indeed!