Better East Texas: Football is a business

(KLTV) - Professional sports no longer focus on playing the game. The most popular sport in the US, professional football is still king, despite the anthem protests, player misconduct and other high-profile bruises.

It is still number one. But that doesn't mean it is smooth sailing. In fact, the business of professional football is pretty ugly.  Papa John's Pizza pulled its sponsorship of the league, citing declining sales. The league is going after Cowboys owner Jerry Jones for repayment of legal fees the league incurred because of Jones' protest of Commissioner Roger Goodell's contract renewal.

Hardly a week goes by without a player getting into trouble.  Now the NCAA is continuing the debate on paying college athletes for their participation on the field and court – making the college level an even bigger business, overshadowing the foundation of being a sport – a game.

We have already lost the focus of inspiring our children to play sports, as so much emphasis is placed on winning and personal performance and the prospect of a career as an athlete.

It makes you almost miss curling in the Olympics – where the US won gold – but where the sport had a certain innocence. There were no high-profile owners, no player endorsements, no official sponsors, only the look of a sport with simple rules, no replay review and no controversy on or off the court.  The NFL is in transition and probably not for the better. But maybe, just maybe, more focus on the game will rescue the spirit of the league.  We need that, our children will benefit from it, and that will make for a Better East Texas.

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