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Vince Vitrano: Not For Broadcast



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What's all the fuss about? Women. Women have long been victims, but only recently became customers.

Since there have been men playing professional football, there have been pro football players behaving badly toward women. What's new is not that players or coaches cat-call women on the sidelines or locker room (JETS). What's new is not that players have ill-advised sexual encounters in bathrooms at bars (Rothlisberger). What's new is not that married players will hit on other ladies... even team employees... in harassing ways (Favre).

Here's what's new... the League is taking action against these behaviors.

Why? There was a time when the League would at best ignore these personal exploits of players. Teams, even those in small Midwestern communities, were alleged to help cover up naughty behavior by players. Now teams and the NFL are investigating these types of situations. The League is suspending guys for violating their personal conduct clauses.

What's changed? The League suddenly grew a conscience? No. Two things are have happened in the last few years:  media proliferation, and the marketing direction of the NFL.

Quite simply, it's just too hard these days to keep things quiet. Players get themselves into trouble on Twitter, and through text messages and phone calls that leave trails.

It's so easy for transgressions of any kind to be exposed. A source used to have to break through a lot of barriers to put a defamatory story about someone in the public view. Now all that source has to do is throw it out there on Facebook, upload a video to YouTube, or publish a blog... and it's out there.

Once out there, with any hint of legitimacy, it can enter the mainstream media and snowball.

Okay, so what? Guys know other guys are dogs. Most dudes would draft Lucifer and wear his 666 jersey if they felt it would help their fantasy team.

Enter the NFL's last frontier... women. Guys are going to watch the NFL anyway. There's no growth potential there, but getting the ladies on board has been a priority for the League, particularly in the last few years. It's why football isn't enough anymore.

We've got to have a concert before games or at halftime. Pre-game shows include more than just stats and predictions... they're touchy interviews about guys' feelings. For the first time NFL gear is being designed for ladies beyond adding pink accents. They're actually selling women's clothing made in women's sizes and styling.

Look at what's going on this month to support Breast Cancer research. The NFL is fully on board. Why not colon cancer... or leukemia? Commissioner Roger Godell's got grown men who are trying to kill each other on the field running around in pink shoes and gloves. It's better marketing for the desired demographic.

Don't get me wrong... I'm for women. I'm against Breast Cancer. Imagine the money raised and the lives it will save because of the campaign? It's positive... if not altruistic.

I do think there are a lot of ladies here in Wisconsin scratching their heads. We have some of the most knowledgeable sports fans anywhere, and it crosses gender lines in the Badger State... always has. Some of that great old video from the Ice Bowl has ladies freezing their tails right along side the men.

So, watching football is nothing new for our ladies, but it is for many others nationally. The NFL is trying hard to bring them on board, and thus, it can't have a perception that it's a League of scumbags behaving badly towards women. That won't fly anymore. 

So this brings us to our Mr. Favre, questioned today by NFL officials looking into the alleged sexting scandal. Whether he did it or not... whether he's fined or suspended or not... this is all about the League looking like it's ON IT. Don't worry ladies, we don't let our men get away with stuff like that... we're on it.

The future of the League depends on it.





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