Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Is it Time to Ban Football?

Hola football fans! After the tragic suicide of former San Diego Chargers linebacker Junior Seau, and the Bears’ Dave Duerson and former Falcon Ray Easterling, there is now a debate going on about whether or not football is just too violent and too dangerous. Even sure fire Hall of Famer Kurt Warner has said that he wouldn’t want his kids to play football because of the dangers. Well, I wouldn’t let my kids play either, but that doesn’t mean I think we should ban the sport.

Football is a very dangerous game to play. But, everyone who signs an NFL contract, a Letter of Intent to play in college or just puts the helmet on and walks onto the field is accepting the risks of the game. Now, you’re gonna say “Yeah, but can teenagers understand the risks involved in playing?” Maybe not, but that’s why God invented parents. And it’s up to parents to BE parents. If you send your kid out to do ANYTHING without understanding the risks involved then you are a shitty parent.

Parents worry about how much sex and violence their kids are subjected to on TV, so they block certain channels or don’t subscribe to Skinemax Cinemax or HBO. They worry about what their kids are viewing on the internet, so they install filters. They worry about what they are reading, so they read the book first, or don’t let them read it. (Okay, actually many of them ask the government to raise their kids for them by banning certain TV shows, movies, dirty websites and books, but that’s a discussion for another time.) So, if parents do all those things, why would they send their kid off to play football without researching the risks?

Life is full of risks that we readily assume all the time. We know that cigarettes can and will destroy our lungs. When we buy that bottle of tequila, we know there’s a good chance we’ll wake up the next morning in a drainage ditch wearing nothing but a sombrero while also ruining your liver. If you start betting on sports you very well could end up selling all your shit at a pawn shop to pay off your gambling debts or get your legs broken by Guido. If you eat fast food every day you’re gonna get fat and have lots of health issues resulting from that decision too. Hell, just getting into our cars each morning means that we are accepting a certain amount of risk in our daily life.

A person could get injured engaging in any physical activity. You can sprain an ankle playing pick-up basketball. You can pull a hamstring running the bases on the softball or kickball field. You can blow out your knee playing Frisbee Golf if you’re a hipster who only plays cool sports that aren’t super popular. And you can do as I did and seriously injure your back picking up a laundry basket.

Is it possible, and even probable that the NFL and maybe the NFLPA covered up the long term effects of head injuries and concussions for many years? Absolutely! I think the NFL is in danger of being the next Big Tobacco. But, that’s their problem and will be the result of their actions from the 60’s, 70’s and probably 80’s. But, anyone who is playing the game today who claims he doesn’t know anything about the long term effects of playing just isn’t trying to find out about them. Nothing is being hidden today and it’s up to the individual or the parents of the kids to make the decision about whether or not those risks are acceptable.

And, what about the fans you ask? Well, it’s up to us decide our level of support for college and pro football on our own too. We know how violent the game is. We know how corrupt it is. And we know that the people who choose play these games are willingly accepting the risks. 


I'm With Stupid said...

I often jokingly say, "So let it be written; so let it be done." But here it applies. As you so succinctly point out, it's all, or it should be, about one deciding what his level of risk-taking is.

When you want to play a game where 300 pound linemen run 4.7 40's you know have to realize that bad things can happen.

I smoke. I know the consequences, and I will never blame any bad that befalls me from smoking on anyone but myself.

Well-written, Jayman!! Cheers!!


Mike said...

BAN FOOTBALL! Support extreme fighting instead.

Dana said...

I watched an interesting piece on Morning Joe this morning where it was suggested that the problem with football is too much protection - that the rate of injuries in rugby (the closest physical comparison) are lower because they don't wear protective gear - it forces them to be more aware of the dangers of physical contact.

I don't know ... the whole "protect my snowflake" parental position irritates the fuck out of me too. I'm not sure what the answer is ... maybe punt??

I'm With Stupid said...

Matt-Man: As the late, great Hunter S. Thompson would say: "Buy the ticket, take the ride."


I'm With Stupid said...

Mike: I wouldn't ban UFC or MMA, but that shit is crazy and down right brutal.


I'm With Stupid said...

Dana: Funny thing about that whole "protect my snowflake" thing is that that IS what parent should be doing! Parents first obligation to protect the well being of their kids and use their best judgment on how to do so. Some may go overboard, but the ones who don't bother are far worse.


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