The NFL is following the NBA’s lead in making sure Election Day is taken as seriously as it needs to be.
Voting is important, which feels like a tremendous understatement but the point remains as strong as ever.
Beyond this being one of the most crucially important election years in American history, voting seems like it’s a right in name only depending on where you live and who you are. Voter suppression is a real thing, and it goes deeper than withholding the mail to block mail-in votes from being counted.
To combat sneaky tactics deployed by many politicians that include, but aren’t limited to, making it nearly impossible to find an easy polling station to vote, the NFL is following the NBA’s lead in making sure Election Day is taken as seriously as it needs to be.
The league announced on Thursday that every level of the NFL will shut down on November 3rd so that everyone is able to cast their vote.
Why is the NFL shutting down on November 3rd?
This follows the NBA’s lead, in which after a wildcat strike by players league owners agreed to turn arenas into voting stations on November 3rd.
While saying that voting is important is a tremendous understatement, it cannot be overstated how hard it is to actually do it. Beyond things like the mail-in ballot controversy, it’s historically hard to cast a vote in certain communities that suffer from poor setups that create lines that stretch for blocks and last for hours.
Double that when you deal with districts and neighborhoods that are historically Republican, which voting data will support the theory that it’s easier for white families in the suburbs to cast a vote than minorities. Dave Chapelle had a joke in one of his specials about pulling up in his luxury car to stand in line for hours to cast a vote for Barack Obama, but the joke is only half as funny when you realize the punchline is actually that people in a civilized country have to wait in dusty lines for hours to make their voice be heard with a ballot.
The NFL isn’t taking as direct a step as the NBA in unclogging voting issues, but shutting down the entire league is a pretty incredible statement. For a league that habitually does the wrong thing — or nothing at all — this is another sign that times are changing in football.