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Walden: Brainwashing all the rage in NFL

Published August 18, 2013 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Quite naively, as it turns out, I used to believe the NFL was about … well, professional football.

What a rube.

It would seem the football is actually just a clever cover, a roundabout ruse meant to distract us from all the mental manipulation going on behind the scenes.

That's right — brainwashing.

I know, I know — that sounds silly. Far-fetched. Unlikely. Dumb, even.

I thought so, as well.

But then, in the last week or so, there have been a whopping TWO accusations of NFL teams brainwashing players. That's right — two.

One accusation, you could chalk up to paranoia. Two, though, is a trend.

So what in the name of "The Manchurian Candidate" is going on here? What sort of nefarious plots are being hatched whilst we obliviously focus on our upcoming fantasy drafts? Executions of key geopolitical figureheads? Toppling of governmental structures? Sabotage of economic systems?

The initial inflammatory insinuation came from ex-Packers-turned-Vikings receiver Greg Jennings, who blew the lid off the insidious machinations of his former handlers: "Being over in Green Bay, you're brainwashed to think anyone in the division is tiers below."

Ummmm … OK, then. That was … disappointing?

Perhaps Jennings' remarks are adroitly disguised as traditional sour-grapes bashing of the team that would not meet his salary demands and sent him away when, in actuality, they hold a coded key to the stabilization of Egypt and Syria.

You're right, that's a reach.

OK, Donovan McNabb, given your history of success in NFC championship games and the Super Bowl, we know you can come through when it counts. Give us the details of the plot involving Robert Griffin III: "I honestly think that over there in Washington, he's getting brainwashed."

Yes! I knew it. RG3, being the physical freak that he is, would seem the perfect modern-day candidate to carry out a post-hypnotic suggestion a la Reggie Jackson attempting to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II in "The Naked Gun."

So who's his target? Ooooohhhh … perhaps the plot will involve a generational trickle-down, and the QB will be an unwitting cog in an abduction attempt of Elizabeth II's great-grandson, George Alexander Louis, Prince of Cambridge.

What? McNabb is just upset that he requested a sit-down with RG3 and was rebuffed? That's it?

That's a whopping TWO misuses of the word "brainwashed" in about a week. That's quite a trend.

Then again, I suppose it's also a trend for NFL types to take subjects that involve some degree of gravity and utterly diminish them. Falcons receiver Roddy White, for example, did not understand the fuss when he tweeted that the jurors in the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case should all commit suicide.

I'd like to think that someday it'll stop.

I know, I know — that sounds silly. Far-fetched. Unlikely. Dumb, even.

ewalden@sltrib.com