Sunday, November 10, 2013

I am trying to give up football:

I am a fan of professional football. When I watch games on TV, I often rewind to go over plays four or five times. I like to understand how offenses and defenses work, and to appreciate the skills and planning that come together to make a good team. I'm a Giant's fan.

No more. I hope.

I'm well aware of the violence that drives this sport. I know that the more violent team gets a real advantage. I know that teams try to injure key opponents, or to wear them down with brutal tackles and hits. I know that in the locker rooms, the veterans give the rookies an unconscionably hard time. I've known all that for years.

Now I know about the concussions. I know that hundreds of thousands of kids are playing tackle football and rattling their skulls, imitating the professional players whose league is still trying to pretend that concussions aren't all that serious.

I can't, in good conscience, get my enjoyment from a game, however deep and fascinating, that brutalizes its humans for my pleasure, and encourages the brutalization of the youngsters whose unlikely goal is to make it to the pro level and earn millions.

Frank Bruni summarized the issues very well in an editorial on pro football today, a column called Violence, Greed and the Gridiron. What he wrote was my last straw.

I really ought to stop. And I'm pleased that I didn't see a single game today.

I'll let you know if I backslide and start enjoying pro football games again. But I think I'm through.

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