There. I’ve said it. Call me abnormal, even un-American.
If the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) still existed, I’d probably be subpoenaed to answer “why, when, how” I became a card-carrying subversive football-hater, clearly undermining essential American values.
When my son was an adolescent, at the top of my prayers for his well-being were that he be safe while in cars with other teenagers and a fervent hope that he’d never ask for football gear. It was bad enough that he lost a tooth in a pick-up game of hockey.
I remember when football moved past baseball as the American past-time, leaving the slower, less lucrative and pretty much blood-free older sport in the dust of the diamond.
I like sports. Well, some sports. I follow baseball, basketball, soccer, summer and winter Olympic competition. It’s not that I totally avoid all sports. I have simply always found football too violent and boring (yes, boring). Probably if I knew more about the strategy of the game, it would seem less dull to me, but no matter how much one knows about football, the violence is still there.
And, these days, part of what is increasingly known–documented and proven–is the impact of all that impact on players’ brains. Professionals are at risk, of course, but so are college, high school and even younger players.
It’s the middle of the football season and I just watched the Frontline documentary, “League of Denial,” about the evidence that is piling up–in spite of the NFL’s best efforts to suppress the research. If you have youngsters playing the game, I urge you to get the program and watch it…at least as a start to reconsidering the extent of gridiron danger to our children and professional players.
What prompted me this morning to open a conversation about football? Hearing Scott Simon on “Weekend Edition” chatting amiably about football I wondered if 50 years from now we’ll look back at the post-World War II explosion of the sport and be shocked by our cavalier acceptance of the collateral damage of this multi-multi-multi-million dollar entertainment.
Now, I imagine, like suspected communists in the ’50s, you’re thinking, “Hating football is un-American. Why don’t you go back where you came from?” Tackle away–no helmet required to debate the issue.