Monday, September 02, 2013

Turning His Back on Football

Robert Stein's reasoning for saying farewell to football fandom. Interesting and thought-provoking.

What do you think?


Charlie said...

Stein says: "But no amount of money can ease a conscience over watching a game in which hurting people is one of the aims." I think he goes too far in that claim.

In most contact sports, players are injured, but in none of them is that the "aim" of the sport, including football. I've seen soccer players take opponents out, it happens in ice hockey, in rugby, and it happens in football, but it's illegal in all those and is penalized when detected.

I've seen career-ending injuries in track and field, bicycling, basketball... curling may be fairly safe. But in any sport where people push themselves to the edge of human capability, there is a significant chance of injury.

I think football governing bodies want to find ways to make the game safer, just as NASCAR keeps adding new rules to prevent driver injuries and make the inevitable crashes more survivable. Football is a tough sport, for sure, but I think Stein is overreacting.

Mark Daniels said...

You're right that injuring others is not the "aim" of football. But it's probably also true that a higher percentage of more lasting damage is done to football players--from arthritis to head injuries--than to those who focus on other sports.

I agree that Stein is overreacting. As was George Will, when he reached similar conclusions about a year ago.

But the brutality of the sport that fans love to see causes real damage, usually to players too young to fully understand or appreciate the danger they face when they put on the pads.

I think that fans are starting to become more aware of that than they had been for years.

As you say, every sport has its risks. It's an inherent element of athletics.

But I can understand why some, like Stein, are now averting their eyes and walking away from football.

This, of course, is sort of heresy for a guy born and raised in Columbus, who graduated from Ohio State. But I do get Stein's concerns.