People who grew up listening to Loveline will be quite familiar with Drew Pinsky’s definition of addiction. Dr. Drew—the board-certified internist and addiction medicine specialist who found fame through such radio and television endeavors as Celebrity Rehab, Dr. Drew on Call, and the aforementioned Loveline—would often be asked by callers whether their respective vices were addictions that needed medical attention. Dr. Drew would always ask the caller whether the habit at issue was adversely affecting her life, and if it was, then it should be considered an addiction necessitating treatment.
Pinsky would frequently become the butt of jokes for telling marijuana enthusiasts that their recreational smoking had become an addiction. But contrary to the implications of such jokes, Dr. Drew wasn’t conflating serial marijuana usage with the daily utilization of such drugs as heroin or meth; rather, he was simply stating that any frequent undertaking that hurts other important and beneficial aspects of one’s life should be treated as an addiction warranting attention. For sports fans across the country, our beloved National Football League has devolved into a dangerous addiction worthy of our collective concern.
As has been rightly reported ad infinitum, garbage human being and Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice knocked a woman unconscious and dragged her lifeless body across the floor. Despite the NFL giving out suspensions of up to one year for drug and alcohol offenses, Rice received just a two game suspension—a penalty the NFL Network horrifically described as being the result of the “iron fist” of the National Football League. To be abundantly clear, Commissioner Roger Goodell and his supposedly iron fisted NFL disciplinary body punishes recreational pot smoking more harshly than it does violence against women.
How do I know that we are addicted to the NFL? Because—despite the nation’s current outrage over Rice—at best a negligible number of people will boycott the NFL’s upcoming 2014-2015 season. Journalists will continue writing about professional football, and fans will continue religiously watching games on Thursdays, Sundays, and Mondays beginning this Fall. The NFL will begin its 2014 season as America’s most popular sport, and by the end of the year it will almost assuredly amass even more fans than ever before.
Because of our addiction to the National Football League, we will be both cheering and spending money on a professional sports league that deemed a two game suspension for woman batterer Ray Rice a prudent form of punishment. And in light of our cheers and financial support, we will as a matter of fact be tacitly condoning violence against women.
If that isn’t addiction, then I don’t know what is. Maybe we all need rehab.