I love Football. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t. I played as a youth, up through High School – played a little club ball in college. I get excited when training camp starts, I watch the stupid Hall of Fame game where a bunch of guys who aren’t going to make their current team execute plays they haven’t practiced enough to get right. I play fantasy football, I watch Red Zone all fall. I love Football.
The problem is that Football is terrible in almost every conceivable way. Yes sports teach toughness and teamwork and perseverance – but soccer, basketball, baseball, hockey, volleyball, lacrosse etc. can teach all those same lessons. I’m not going to go through the liturgy of negative things football contributes to society or this thing will be a book and not a post – but just a few of the major problems in America and football’s contributions to them:
Education: The whole scholarship, sponsorship, bowl game system is a fiasco, contributes nothing to helping educate students while getting non-profit treatment and doesn’t prepare the vast majority of players who will not make a living playing football for any kind of post-grad career.
Race relations: See National Anthem Protests, racial make-up of coaches and referees vs. players, endorsement money.
Infrastructure: Owners regularly get tax-dollars to build stadiums, improve roadways amounting to billions of dollars that study after study show never get paid back through increased economic activity.
Domestic Abuse: Players regularly get slaps on the wrist or minor suspensions for domestic assaults while they are punished more severely for dress code violations.
Economic Inequality: The majority of professional players only play 3-4 years in the NFL, they can be cut at any time, suspended without pay with no real recourse, and with the exception of the very top tier of players – will not make enough money to maintain a reasonable standard of living for even a few years after their careers are over, much less for the rest of their lives. The top draft pick in the NBA –who has yet to play a second, is guaranteed to make more money over the next four years than all but about 10 NFL players.
Health: Football kills people early both because of CTE (the concussion disease) and the rampant use of performance enhancers that the league only really pays lip service to.
Economics in General: The NFL’s owners are some of the richest people in the country and are generally in favor of laisse-fair economic policies and vote GOP –while the league itself is structured as a Socialist Oligarchy.
Okay, that was long. Anyway – my point isn’t to make this a post about football – although that would be good to. My overarching question is: What do you love, and are not giving up, even though you know it’s terrible? It has to be terrible for more than just you – not chocolate, or smoking or I just can’t stop eating all those chips – terrible for others or society as a whole.