Friday, January 31, 2014

Are football fans in a "morally queasy position"?

I covered much the same yardage a year ago, prior to the last Stupor Bowl.

Brain injuries, the NFL, and my indifference ... to football.

... Finally it has dawned on me that where there was never before very much interest in football on my part, now there's virtually none, and it is the increasingly well-documented, regrettable, lifelong physical toll suffered by the players which is to blame for my turning away.

It isn't just the pros. The more I read about youth football injuries, the greater understanding we have as to how, even only occasionally, difficult subsequent lives, erratic adulthoods, and those suffering from dementia far before their time might be explained.

Almond's piece in Sunday's NYT mag is being derided in the usual corridors as effete and namby-pamby. I don't agree, although the word "immoral" strikes me as a bit of a stretch. On the other hand, I'd say that watching the television advertisements definitely is immoral. No contest there.

Is It Immoral to Watch the Super Bowl?, by Steve Almond ("Riff" at the NYT Magazine)

... Recently, though, medical research has confirmed that football can cause catastrophic brain injury — not as a rare and unintended consequence, but as a routine byproduct of how the game is played. That puts us fans in a morally queasy position. We not only tolerate this brutality. We sponsor it, just by watching at home. We’re the reason the N.F.L. will earn $5 billion in television revenue alone next year, three times as much as its runner-up, Major League Baseball.

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