Historically speaking, the National Football League has never seemed like the most progressive of North American institutions.
Even though Will Smith made a compelling argument that brains are being destroyed in Concussion, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell continues to toe the party line that 250-pound men violently banging heads together causes no long-term damage.
As far as front-office jobs go, you’re more likely to see a person of colour at Kentucky’s Idle Hour Country Club than you are in an NFL boardroom.
And then there’s the league's stuck-in-the-‘50s attitude towards sex. Flash back to Tittygate from 2004’s Super Bowl XXXVIII. No one can recall the New England Patriots defeating the Carolina Panthers 32-29.
Everyone however remembers Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson's half-time performance of "Rock Your Body". You know, the one where JT ripped Jackson’s boob-tarp off after the line "I'm gonna have you naked by the end of this song”.
Even though Jackson was wearing a nipple shield, part of her was exposed on television for a global audience of millions to enjoy. While both parties later argued it was a “wardrobe malfunction”, the NFL and its fans—most of whom, presumably, had never seen a female breast—were utterly outraged. So ferocious was their fury that the league subsequently cancelled a 2004 Pro Bowl performance by Timberlake’s fellow ‘N Syncer JC Chasez!
That's right, football fans were denied the opportunity to see JC Chasez perform live! And speaking volumes about how upset the NFL was, league executives wouldn't listen to talk about letting fellow megastars like Brian Littrell or Joey McIntyre step up to fill the void.
But even the most caveman-like of organizations is evidently capable of moving forward. Yesterday, the NFL announced that it’s picked no less than Lady Gaga to reign over the half-time festivities at this year's 2017 Super Bowl.
One of America’s most boundary-pushing talents, Gaga is, of course, famous for passionately championing North America’s LGBT community.
Making one wonder if anyone at the NFL has ever done even a rudimentary Google search of her career, she’s also known for having little use for clothes, attending New York Mets games in her ginch, shooting pyrotechnic sparks from her boobs, wearing dresses made of raw meat, and generally ensuring the world would be a sadly less-freaky place without her.
God help you Super Bowl LII, because Lady Gaga has the potential to make footballs fans remember Nipplegate as something from a more wonderfully pure and innocent time. Kind of like porn when you had to put on a trenchcoat and head to a grimy movie theatre to access it, instead of firing up the iPad.
We’ve indeed come a long way baby.