Friday, October 27, 2017

The case against football

I don't mean to sound like a sports prude, if there is such a thing, but if you're an NFL fan, these guys are suffering catastrophic brain injuries so you can be entertained. How can you be okay with that?

On various other blogs I've issued screeds about football-why the teams aren't really trying to win (they make money regardless), with the result that the sport is basically just a hugely successful TV show. Or about how the sixteen game season's small sample size makes it all kind of pointless anyway. Not to mention the degree to which the game's success is linked to all the free publicity it gets in the media, or how the hype to thrills ratio is pretty skewed given that there may be five or six exciting plays (lots of "three yards and a cloud of dust" skirmishes) in a dreary three hour TV show.

But those are simply matters of taste. Much more important is that we now know much more about how risky the game is, which may be why kids' participation in the sport is declining-America's parents have the good sense to protect their kids.

Dr. Bennet Omalu, whose pioneering research into football's dangers was actively resisted by the league, says kids under eighteen shouldn't play football at all. He has the same opinion, it should be added, about other contact sports-they are simply too risky for the developing brain.

For the NFL'ers themselves, Omalu says no equipment can prevent the injuries caused by huge guys moving at great speeds. Far too may become suicidal, or zombies.

Of course there are other arguments against the game-the current kneeling idiocy, the fact that so many of the players are, well, thugs.

But the safety issue is the big one.

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