Monday, May 7, 2012

The Violence of Football

Let's get this out of the way upfront: I LOVE FOOTBALL! I grew up watching and playing football and have loved it ever since. Each Fall I find myself completely and fanatically devoted to my beloved Denver Broncos and my own fantasy football team. But, having said this, I would prefer that my sons (if I ever have sons) never actually play the game of football. I have been thinking about this for the past few years, as my wife and I have been nearing parenthood, and it has only been confirmed within me with the latest concussion issues and 'Bounty-Gate' in the NFL.

Football is an inherently violent sport, both physically and mentally. To truly be excellent, players must psych themselves up into a frenzy and be willing to literally and figuratively destroy the opponent. They must be mean. It's kill or be killed out there between the lines, and I want none of that mentality in my family. I'm not interested in my sons dominating and destroying others, or being dominated or destroyed by another. No thanks.

Of course, if my sons really want to play football I will undoubtedly allow them, but this will not come without conversation about the difference between competition and war, between aggressiveness and violence, and between passion and anger. There are plenty of other sports where my kids could experience teamwork, competition, and fun, (i.e. soccer, basketball, baseball), without succumbing to the inherent violence and danger of football. Two-time NFL MVP Kurt Warner echoed my thoughts perfectly in his most recent statement on violence in football:
"I am constantly concerned about my kids and the violence of the game of football. I worry about them suffering head trauma and developing any long-term issues as a result of that injury,” Warner writes. “So yes, I love this game and all the things that it taught me and afforded me along the way, but regardless of all that I have a responsibility to my kids. I cannot be oblivious to the risks of the game of football simply because it was good to me. . . . I love the X’s and O’s of the game. I love the strategy of the game of football. I love the competitiveness of playing the greatest team sport in the world, where 11 guys must come together at the same time for the team to have success. I love the chess match within each game, the moves and countermoves and the pressure filled responses that dictate who will be the victor. I love the discipline and hard work that is required to succeed in any sport, especially the game of football. Yet, at the same time I am fully aware of the one aspect that I do not love: the violence."
HT: ProFootballTalk

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