The NFL has been no stranger to controversy - that’s the result of being one of the largest organizations in the world, not to mention the sport which hosts the best sporting event in the world. Every week there is some kind of talk about an NFL-related controversy, which often may have very little to do with the organization called the National Football League.
This year everybody talked about the Washington Redskins. Even the UN was involved in the conversation. This year the NFL had to deal with the issue of bullying when Richie Incognito filed a grievance against the NFL. The NFL has faced people speaking out against the violence of football, including NFL players suing over expenses caused by concussions. And we can’t forget all the talk when Seattle Seahawk’s Richard Sherman called out Michael Crabtree.
These issues come from all different sides and bring about all kinds of opinions. Some of them I’ve heard and thought, “That’s bad.” And others, I’ve laughed to myself thinking, “Really? That’s an issue?” These issues aren't what I’m interested in talking about. Let’s talk about an issue that is deeply connected to the National Football League.
"That's how many slaves there are worldwide. Take a moment to wrap your head around it. That's the population of Georgia and Florida, combined. That's the population of New York City metropolitan area. There are more slaves around the world right now than at any time in recorded history. A problem that most people think ended more than a century ago is, in fact, thriving as never before.” - Source (via EndItMovement.com)
The cost of one of these slaves… only $90. A ticket to the Super Bowl is almost twenty times as much. And there are more slaves at this time in human history than ever before and it spans the globe. This sickening industry that profits from the abuse and slavery of women and children (primarily, although not exclusively) makes more money than Google.
Human trafficking is specifically the transporting of people away from their communities in order to force them to work against their will using violence, deception or coercion. And this happens all over the world, including the United States, and especially when the Super Bowl comes into town.
“New Jersey has a huge trafficking problem,” admitted Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.), co-chairman of the U.S. House anti-human trafficking caucus told the Washington Post recently. “One Super Bowl after another has shown itself to be one of the largest events in the world where the cruelty of human trafficking goes on for several weeks.” - DelawareOnline
And from the Washington Post:
“The Super Bowl is a huge, huge arena for sex trafficking,” Douglas said. Some visitors “are coming to the Super Bowl not even to watch football — they are coming to the Super Bowl to have sex with women, and/or men or children.”
I know this is not the problem of the NFL. I am still going to watch the Super Bowl with my friends and family. I am still going to proudly (although ashamedly) hope for the day that my Detroit Lions will play in the Super Bowl. But while it is not the NFL’s problem, it is a problem that is on us - as humans - to do something about.
So while the NFL hasn't caused this issue (although GoDaddy certainly has no problem promoting women as objects during the Super Bowl), I believe the NFL can impact this issue. The NFL has more power and influence than most other organizations and a bigger platform than most. And who better to speak out against human trafficking than an organization who’s premier event happens to bring about slave owners from all across the country.
This may have already been an issue in the minds and heart of the NFL; I wouldn’t doubt it as it’s an issue of human life. The NFL may have already been taking steps to do something about this and we simply haven’t been aware of it. I just would like clearly ask the NFL to help. Let’s make people aware of this problem and let’s do something about the problem. Let’s raise awareness, give time, energy, and resources to fight for the end of slavery. There are plenty of issues that will come across the desk in an NFL season, let’s actually do something about this one. It just might save someone’s life.