Who Dat Planning to Boycott the Game?

Things to do instead of watch the football competition that shall not be named

 

It seems my relationship to football gets more complicated every year. First, I had to learn to deal with uncles who rooted for the Packers (Go Bears!). Later, worrying research started to be published about player safety and the long-term effects of concussions and other brain injuries. We had team owners refusing to change their team names from racist mascots. Then, in 2016, when players started demonstrating their constitutionally-protected political beliefs and got pushback from the NFL, I wondered how much longer I would be able to support the $8 billion industry. It feels hypocritical, but I love football.

Now, there is another blemish on the league that feels more like a laser beam of failure than a blip on the radar. The no-call during the NFC Championship game when Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman initiated pass interference and a helmet-to-helmet hit on Saints wide receiver Tommylee Lewis is one of the most consequential no-calls in NFL history. The NFL has now fined Robey-Coleman $26,739 for helmet-to-helmet contact, proving what should have been a call during regulation play. Had the call been made during the game, the Saints would have been given a first down and the ability to run down the 1:45 left on the clock to win the game and play for the Vince Lombardi trophy in Atlanta.

The Who Dat Nation has been going through the five stages of grief, but in our own way. There’s been denial, anger and depression, but in the culture of “won’t bow down, don’t know how,” we aren’t about to bargain or accept anything. Some people have brought lawsuits against the NFL, Haydel’s bakery made no-call cookies and Louisiana Family Eye Care offered free eye exams to NFL officials. Every t-shirt designer in NOLA has created their own sardonic statement on the no-call. We are applying our humor and indignation to this heartbreaking reality. We are also boycotting the game that shall not be named.

For the first time I can remember, I won’t be tuning in to the football spectacle on Sunday. There will be no chili in my slow cooker or Rotel dip to gorge upon. I won’t watch the halftime show or care about the commercials. I would normally cheer for anyone playing against the Patriots, but that is not an option this year. Which is a shame, because the Rams are a great team, but they are the wrong team in the Falcon’s locker room.

Instead of watching that lie of a game, I’m joining the Who Dat Nation to celebrate the hard work and success of the Saints. They played a great season, and we can hold our heads high knowing that our team did their best to take us all the way. Here are a few events around town if you want to be in that number.

 

Boycott Bowl

On Feb. 3 from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m., a street party will bring together Black and Gold revelers on Fulton Street from Girod to Lafayette. Organizers are asking for $10 admission, proceeds of which will be donated to New Orleans Recreation Development (NORD). Music performances are still being added, but so far include Choppa with a Choppa-Style Dance Contest, Shamarr Allen & The Underdawgs, Kermit Ruffins, Dash Rip Rock, Flow Tribe, Rockin’ Doopsie, Partners N Crime and The Big EZ Band, Ricky B and more. Children are welcome but will be charged the same admission.

 

Blackout & Gold Second Line

This protest second line has been planned as a mock funeral procession to mourn the end of the Saints season. People are encouraged to meet on Feb. 3 at Jackson Square starting at 1:30 p.m. The second line will roll at 2 p.m. on Decatur Street to Canal Street, then make the right turn up Canal Street to Bourbon Street, and disband at Iberville Street. It will be led by two brass bands and have “some extra surprises.” The second line is free, but organizers are asking for donations to their Kickstarter campaign to defray costs such as the permit and the bands.

 

Tremé Sidewalk Steppers’ 25th Annual Second Line Parade

This traditional second line on Feb. 3 will be led by King Tyrin “Tuttie” Martin and Queen Leonzell “Lee” Brown. It starts from New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation at 1205 N. Rampart St. at 12 p.m. and will make stops at Seal’s Class Act, The Avenue Barbershop, Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club and Charbonet Funeral Home before disbanding at Kermit Ruffins’ Mother-in-Law Lounge.

 

Dining and Drinking

Quite a few bars and restaurants have announced drink and food specials for Feb. 3. Some even plan to show the 2010 Super Bowl. Check out Blue Oak BBQ, Cane & Table, Crown & Anchor Pub, Dat Dog’s 3336 Magazine St. location, La Casita Taqueria, Pythian Market, Tracey’s Original Irish Channel Bar, Vaughan’s Lounge, Velvet Cactus and The Kingpin.

 

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