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NFL blames league violence on video games.
December 5, 2002 12:20 PM   Subscribe

"After weeks of reviewing hard hits that have resulted in a bevy of fines, the NFL has decided to review the video game industry." When all else fails, blame video games. [from ESPN.com]
posted by eyeballkid (43 comments total)

 
This is so ass-backward it makes my teeth hurt.

I'll let someone else take the first "In other news..."
posted by gottabefunky at 12:28 PM on December 5, 2002


Next Step: NFL goes to 'Flag Football' format
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 12:28 PM on December 5, 2002


"After weeks of decapitations and unnecessary fireballs, the International Martial Arts Association has decided to review the video game industry, including indepth coverage of why there also hasn't been more big boobs on its female fighters."
posted by Stan Chin at 12:28 PM on December 5, 2002


haha
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 12:29 PM on December 5, 2002


So, in this video game, do retired running backs get to decapitate people?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:36 PM on December 5, 2002


It sounds like the players association is at least partly responsible for this craziness by criticizing the NFL for cracking down on flesh-and-blood dirty players while sanctioning computer games that have virtual dirty players. Oh, the hypocrisy!

Not that I'd wouldn't be saying stuff like that too if I thought it might help me weasel out of a multi-thousand dollar fine.
posted by boltman at 12:41 PM on December 5, 2002


haha!

Anyway, they're not really blaming video games, just saying that video games should reflect what's acceptable in the sport - no?
posted by jiroczech at 12:43 PM on December 5, 2002


If video games should reflect the sport, and the realities of the sport, then the Tony Hawk series of games is in deep trouble.
posted by benjh at 12:48 PM on December 5, 2002


It seems to me that they are blaming the games. The review of Midway's NFL Blitz is directly related to the increase in helmet-hit infractions.

Personally, I would think that directing the league's defensive and offensive trainers/coordinators to find ways curb the problem would be my first step. But then, that's just logic talking.
posted by eyeballkid at 12:51 PM on December 5, 2002


If the makers of football video games could only bring their products up to the same level of realism as Grand Theft Auto, then all of this ridiculous, overblown violence would stop.
posted by putzface_dickman at 12:58 PM on December 5, 2002


Rick Reilly: Do you think it's hypocritical for the NFL to fine its players for violent hits, taunting and unnecessary roughness with one hand and cash in on the very same thing with the other?
posted by ajr at 12:59 PM on December 5, 2002


Instead of banning the violent content in sports games, why not show the natural consequences? Cut scenes could show players being driven off the field on those little carts, or later show the injured person complaining about the hit at a post-game press conference.

It could lead to other "real world" video games, like “Action Lawyer 2K7”, where you get to control a virtual prosecuting attorney on the pursuit of Justice!
posted by jazon at 1:00 PM on December 5, 2002


It appears that the NFL is primarily trying to maintain what little "image of the sport" they can. Saying brutal hits are not OK while at the same time licensing games that do sends something of a dual message.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 1:02 PM on December 5, 2002


Once again, comics are ahead of the curve.
posted by yhbc at 1:10 PM on December 5, 2002


Video games are not reality. I don't play in the NFL, and i doubt anyone else here does. Maybe if the NFL is so worried about reality, they could require us to buy a device that hits your when the QB is sacked...Hm, maybe I should market that...
posted by jmd82 at 1:15 PM on December 5, 2002


Do you think it's hypocritical for the NFL to fine its players for violent hits, taunting and unnecessary roughness with one hand and cash in on the very same thing with the other?

I don't think the connection is all that strong because the video games are so clearly fictionalized. Especially NFL Blitz, which is a fantasy game whose whole point is breaking the rules of normal NFL football.

I would say there is a very strong similarity in any video game that involves racing around a circle being officially sanctioned by NASCAR (there are lots of games like this), when most casual drivers of NASCAR video games want to crash the cars as much as possible. But then there aren't rampant car crashes in real-life NASCAR, nor is there a plethora of video games called NASCAR Crunch 'n Demolition Munch.

It's worth mentioning there's a weird trend that has been documented elsewhere of NFL players obsessing over playstation2 and xbox games featuring themselves. If players are breaking rules in real life, I don't know if making games less fun for everyone will help a few players with a problematic grasp on reality.

How strong is the connection between the NFL and Player's Associations and video games really? I'm a casual player of NFL Blitz from time to time, and from my perspective it doesn't appear official at all, save for the real names of teams in the game, and accurate player number/names. Do people see a stronger connection between the real life NFL and the fictional NFL in their games?

Would the real problem with NFL players being too rough be gone if NFL Blitz no longer featured real teams and instead was called Gridiron Blitz, where the Seattle Pelicans take on the Oakland Pirates and beat each other mercilessly? I tend to think functioning adult participants in professional sports should be a little more... uh professional and this wouldn't even be an issue.
posted by mathowie at 1:16 PM on December 5, 2002


Does anybody remember the Simpson's episode where a video playing in the video store shows "The Gazelle," the most graceful running back in NFL history. During a clip demonstrating his running style, someone abruptly grabs his face mask and tries to rip it off in an extremely violent fashion? Didn't that only air once with the original episode? Could the NFL have demanded that it be removed before syndication? Hmmmmm....
posted by jlynford2 at 1:18 PM on December 5, 2002


My favourite part of last weekend's game between Buffalo and Miami was when Bledsoe completed three passes in a row to Eric Moulds. As soon as Moulds caught the third one, his jersey burst into flames and he was able to run at top speed for the entire length of the field. For the next ten minutes, every single ball thrown his way he caught, and it none of the safeties or linebackers were able to tackle him, only push him out of bounds. It was amazing!

Of course, it ended when the blitzing linebacker for the Dolphins jiggled left, right, left, right, back, forward, back, forward and then hopped on his left foot twice, then his right foot twice. His head grew really big and he sacked Bledsoe by jumping over the entire line and landing on his throat.

Seriously, it happened! You just had a hard time seeing it through the snow. Honest!
posted by grum@work at 1:21 PM on December 5, 2002


I've been told that football is the single greatest cause of traumatic brain injury among youth. I agree, Jazon: at my son's high school football games, there are multiple injuries during EVERY GAME. I am a pretty adventurous parent, but my sons are forbidden from ever playing. The risk is simply too great.

I'm just saying.
posted by banjotwang at 1:23 PM on December 5, 2002


jlynford2: "They called him the Galloping Gazelle. His habitat: the frozen tundra of Soldier Field. For six seasons and two Pro Bowls, he grazed on the tasty green turf of the end zone. Until one fateful Sunday in November, when the Gazelle was stopped in his tracks...by a big cat named Wayne Scheshevski."
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:25 PM on December 5, 2002


jlynford2: They clip stuff out of syndication all the time to add one more commercial. Often it's stuff that has nothing to do with the main plot(s). Sadly, it's the really funny background stuff (like that video clip) that gets cut first. So it's more likely a timing issue than a conspiracy one.
posted by grum@work at 1:25 PM on December 5, 2002


what episode was that simpson's clip from?
posted by mapalm at 1:42 PM on December 5, 2002


doh! simpsons's clip.
posted by mapalm at 1:43 PM on December 5, 2002


"what episode was that simpson's clip from?"

Season 3: "Saturdays of Thunder".
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:51 PM on December 5, 2002


Remind me not to play Simpsons' Trivia with mr_crash_davis.
posted by eyeballkid at 1:54 PM on December 5, 2002


But then there aren't rampant car crashes in real-life NASCAR, nor is there a plethora of video games called NASCAR Crunch 'n Demolition Munch.

The fact that NASCAR is not endorsing or encouraging the very behavior it punishes by licensing it to NASCAR Blitz is the issue the players are raising. It reminds me of the cliche of "do what I say, not what I do. "

This type of doublespeak addresses the very heart of the issue. Players know that their popularity and marketability are directly proportional to the face time gained on SportsCenter, etc. One of the ways they get publicity is by making big hits. When the NFL fines them for a hit then publicizes the play on its Greatest Hits Video, it raises issues of accountability. If the NFL is willing to sacrifice its own financial booty, I argue that it gains more credibility to address these issues and to better enforce fines, which will hopefully lead to better behavior and less injuries-without really affecting gameplay of Blitz, etc.
posted by ajr at 2:41 PM on December 5, 2002


"Remind me not to play Simpsons' Trivia with mr_crash_davis."

I rarely watch the Simpsons, ebk. The above was courtesy of The Simpsons Archive, which for some reason is in my bookmarks. I have no idea why.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:02 PM on December 5, 2002


It reminds me of the cliche of "do what I say, not what I do. "

That's all well and good for most purposes, but we're talking about fictionalized games

The cliche would be more accurate as "do what I say, not what I do in an entirely fictional universe devoid of reality"

Do Stephen King's kids understand that murdering others is bad, even though dad does it in his books? If "The Rock" had children, would they know that chairs are for sitting in, and not bashing people over the head with?

The players being fined are being unprofessional, regardless of what fictionalized games their player associations sign off on.
posted by mathowie at 3:19 PM on December 5, 2002


So, in this video game, do retired running backs get to decapitate people?

Only linebackers.
posted by Wet Spot at 3:21 PM on December 5, 2002


Well, if the games are connected by license to the NFL, I suspect that gives them some legal grounds to review the games.

Of course, as was said in the article and in previous comments, regardless of how the games shape public perception, if pro football players (many of whom are big console sports game fans) can't tell the difference between fantasy world (sitting on the couch playing Madden on the big screen) and the real world (bright lights, loud crowds), that would seem to be the bigger problem.
posted by Inkslinger at 3:30 PM on December 5, 2002


"Once again, comics are ahead of the curve."

The comic was published 11 days after the article was
posted by L. Ron McKenzie at 3:57 PM on December 5, 2002


Let's not forget about the long and noble tradition of gratuitous violence in sports games.
posted by boltman at 4:18 PM on December 5, 2002


First they came for the pornography, but I didn't do anything because I don't use that stuff. Then they came for the mp3s, but I didn't do anything because I listen to CDs. Then they came for my ebooks, but I didn't do anything because I prefer paper. Then they came for the video games, and I stood up! But there was no to stand up with me because all my friends were out of work.
posted by raaka at 4:21 PM on December 5, 2002


Do you think it's hypocritical for the NFL to fine its players for violent hits, taunting and unnecessary roughness with one hand and cash in on the very same thing with the other?

Well, really you could say the same thing about most institutions...

Do you think it's hypocritical for the Police to fine people for committing certain crimes while at the same time making money from these fines?

But I suppose it's all done to the wording.
posted by Dillonlikescookies at 6:10 PM on December 5, 2002


Oops, my bad.
But I suppose it's all down to the wording.
posted by Dillonlikescookies at 6:11 PM on December 5, 2002


L. Ron: you think they wrote it the same day it was published? If I remember correctly, Doonesbury is about the closest thing to a "real-time" comic strip; Trudeau writes it with only about a two-week lead time before they are published. Most of your national, syndicated strips have a much longer lead time - maybe a month or longer. That said, I don't know specifically what lead time Millar and Hinds have on Tank McNamara.
posted by yhbc at 6:24 PM on December 5, 2002


They have to "protect the integrity of the game" - while (insert crack-addicted-20-milliion-dollar-contract running back's name here) pistol whips his stripper girlfriend to an inch of her life, then crashes his SUV into his mom's house and runs naked from the police helicopter on the 10 o'clock news.

THAT's the game EA needs to make!
posted by Zombie at 6:38 PM on December 5, 2002


Zombie: if they do, I am so there!
posted by Dark Messiah at 7:16 PM on December 5, 2002


i remember when EA had fighting in the NHL games when the sega genesis version first came out. the NHL decided it wasn't a good thing to "promote" fighting int he game so they didn't allow EA to include it the following year. the following year the game didn't sell as many copies so the next year's release had fighting back in the game. although, they were limited to 1.3 fights per game.

the most recent EA NHL games have 1 or 2 fights a period. money talks. bullshit walks.
posted by suprfli at 7:59 PM on December 5, 2002


the most recent EA NHL games have 1 or 2 fights a period.

If you play Tekken 4 long enough, a football game breaks out...
posted by inpHilltr8r at 8:05 PM on December 5, 2002


Keep in mind that this is the same league that banned players from wearing bandanas on the field and dancing in an organized manner after they score touchdowns.

"Marshal Faulk, stop dancing with your teammates immediately! Goddammit Marshall, we don't care if you bite people on the bottom of the pile (rowr!), but there's no.dacing.in.football!"

Then they fined him like $130,000. I think it's safe to say they're a quite concerned with image.
posted by The God Complex at 3:25 AM on December 6, 2002


[dacing being a popular form of dancing among more rhythmic football players.]
posted by The God Complex at 3:26 AM on December 6, 2002


How strong is the connection between the NFL and Player's Associations and video games really?

Strong enough. If you want your games to be "authentic," you have to play by their rules. We had to deal with plenty of crap from the NHLPA on the last game I worked on. No blood. Minimized fighting. Christ, we couldn't even use real cash salaries in the Franchise Mode. We had to use points (as in, this guy gets paid 50 points instead of $245K) because...you know, I never found out why we had to do that. But, again, if you want to use players' likenesses and team logos and the stadia, you have to bend over backwards to get the permission of the parties involved.

Which is just another reason why I'm glad I'm not working on a sports game this time around.
posted by RakDaddy at 2:59 PM on December 6, 2002


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