Friday, November 21, 2014

The Moral Abomination of Football

Last updated: January 19, 2016.

While I am in general agreement with Christopher Chabris's assessment of Malcolm Gladwell, I think Gladwell is absolutely right about one thing - football is a moral abomination. Not only does it glorify pain, violence, hostility, destruction, and a "take no hostages," "win at any cost" mentality, but it also conveys to impressionable young people that authority and tradition are supremely important virtues. And to make matters even worse, it is all too often entangled with pious, "holier than thou" religious views that reinforce some of those same morally dubious values.

As the New York Times noted in September, the NFL has now "stated in federal court documents that it expects nearly a third of retired players to develop long-term cognitive problems and that the conditions are likely to emerge at 'notably younger ages' than in the general population." Even high school football players risk brain injury and death. What competent local school board, superintendent, or principal would even consider allowing such an activity at their school? Why do we allow this one to continue? Why are we surprised by stories like this?

I'll just leave you with some "Friday Night Football" slogans to ponder. Do we really want to teach our children these values?
  • Play each down like it's your last
  • football, little effort means broken bones and blood.
  • It doesn't matter who starts, but who can finish the game
  • Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing
  • We are ... Mobile, Agile, and Hostile
  • Show no mercy. Make no excuses.
  • We don't rebuild. We reload.
  • Second place means First Loser!
  • If football is your religion, prepare to meet your maker
  • If you can't take a hit, stay off the field
  • If you can't take the pain, then stay off the field
  • It's not a contact sport, it's a collision sport
  • It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up.
  • No distractions, just destruction
  • No limits
  • No pain, no gain
  • Our blood, our sweat, your tears
  • Pro football is like nuclear warfare. There are no winners, only survivors.
  • Shut up and hit someone
  • the goal is to have more blood drop off your body than sweat does off of mine
  • What we do in life, echoes in eternity!
  • Whatever it takes
  • Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing
  • You gotta believe

After an exciting Monday Night Football finish, players from both teams came to the middle of the field for a postgame prayer.
Posted by NFL on ESPN on Monday, November 2, 2015

A photographer captured this moment yesterday following the Panthers/Seahawks game-- the players were united in prayer. The story behind the photo:
Posted by NBC Charlotte on Monday, January 18, 2016