Friday, April 6, 2012

The Hypocrisy of Football Fandom

The whole Gregg Williams tape thing has me thinking about football when I should be enjoying golf or baseball (You win, ESPN & Derek Medlin. I give up.)

As you may have heard, football is a violent game. It is so violent, in fact, that long-term participation in the sport is all but guaranteed to cause serious health problems in later years. Even short-term participation (lets say you play HS football, for examples) does the same amount of damage to a man's body as several hundred car wrecks in a few months, which is about as healthy as it sounds. Football shortens lifespans, damages brains and reduces once powerful men to creaking, aching senior citizens before they hit 50.

That's why every fall when I find myself getting excited about the upcoming football season, a part of me twinges at how barbaric these feelings are. I am the crowd at the Roman Coliseum, lusting for blood. It's an unsettling realization, and I have briefly thought about giving up the sport altogether but it seems a near impossible task. Putting aside the fact that I cover college football (essentially promoting it and becoming even a great hypocrite than any season ticket holder who cheers for a big hit), football is so ingrained within our sports culture that separating yourself from it while remaining a 'sports fan' is a daunting task.

This is not to say that I think we should make football illegal or anything along those lines. Not to be too political, but I have a very libertarian world view. It's my opinion that if you aren't harming others you should be free to do what you want - prostitution, drugs and football should all be legal.

America loves football. It's not going anywhere. I will not stop watching it. Or talking about it. Or writing about it. But a small part of me will hate myself for it. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't think about what being a football fan says about ourselves. Give them bread and circuses, indeed.

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