Why I dislike the sport
With the buzz around NDSU’s recent National College Football Championship game against South Dakota State and the popular, upcoming SuperBowl LVII, excited football fans have rooted game after game, watching their favorite players and teams.
While the festivities and activities of football are usually fun, is it harmless fun?
I have always wondered about this. Even though NDSU is a unique culture in itself, it is a culture I enjoy despite disliking football, which many consider one of NDSU’s main attractions. One thing I have discovered more and more is how football is not only unenjoyable to watch but to maybe even play.
I came to this conclusion when I started to tap into other sports and their environments.
Some of these sports include winter sports, specifically hockey and also soccer, which other places around the world interestingly call football.
To me, hockey is a more interesting sport and one of the biggest reasons for that is that it’s more of an international sport. I used to watch or have more of an interest in football before, but I eventually started to see the whole picture. I opened up my world, and expanded my attention, and somewhat my experiences to other kinds of sports.
Another big reason why I started developing more of a liking for other sports is how Americanized I’d discovered the sport is and that I didn’t see myself as a “status quo American.” Less in today’s society, but still relevant is the idea of hegemonic masculinity in America, male players are encouraged to play through injuries and “tough it out.”
Not only do I dislike the culture of football in America, but I find it rather disturbing how many players are left with lifelong complications compared to other contact sports.
Dangers of playing tackle football that further my opinion.
While I was trying to further develop my reasoning on my opinion, I came across a study from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The study found Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a brain disease that is caused by repeated trauma to the head, is more common among football players than recently thought. Their findings concluded that CTE was found in the brains of 99% of National Football League players, 91% of college football players, and 21% of high school football players. Autopsies were done on 202 deceased NFL players in this process.
Deeper issues related to CTE can include, depression, behavior problems, aggression, loss of or poor judgment, memory loss, and inability to control impulsive episodes, and could also result in severe dementia. This condition has been widespread throughout the American football world and its effects linger far and wide.
I wonder what it’s like to experience and what happens during the progression of the disease. Like a lot of things, everybody experiences things differently and everyone’s body is different. The changes may not be noticeable at first, but do change over time and may take the form of mild memory loss, headaches, irritable moods, etc., according to multiple resources.
Later on, with the disease, people may get depressed or anxious and might act more aggressively in social situations. Sometimes, these behaviors can put a person diagnosed with CTE in some serious situations that they may not have been in before experiencing those behavioral changes.
An example of this from https://en.as.com is former football player Aaron Hernandez, who was said to display aggressive behaviors and was charged with a double homicide in 2012. Hernandez was later found not guilty after committing suicide in his cell. In his autopsy report, a brain scan showed evidence of atrophy, damage to the frontal lobe, and large black spots that were caused by tau proteins, or CTE. If it wasn’t for CTE affecting the behaviors that put him as a prime suspect, would the outcome still be the same?
The number of CTE cases has been greater with football and boxing, than with other sports. Like most contact sports there are injuries, therefore there have also been cases of CTE in Soccer (football), Ice Hockey, Wrestling, and Rugby. Despite that though, the number of cases has been greater with football and boxing, than with other sports, says ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
Another big thing, greed.
Of course, it is easy to assume anything related to sports may always come with a risk, but since American football is an American Cooperation, you guessed it, there is greed involved.
Sportcy.com explains that American football is the most profitable sport in the world, which comes with the form of capitalism, and that capital knows no bounds. From a fan’s perspective, that capital may not always go towards what you expect, one would almost have to be asleep to not know anything about that.
According to Sports Illustrated, the revenue made around the league itself comes from ticket sales, merchandise sales, local revenue, along with sponsorships. But that aside, a bunch of that money goes to political campaigns, with most of it going to Republican candidates.
Only a slim minority would donate to the Democratic party, with NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith. Most of those donations go towards some well-known names like Amy Klobuchar and Pete Butigieg for example. But some of the well-known names who received a boost on the Republican side were South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnel, etc. Player participation in it was not well-known outside of Raiders guard Richie Incognito who donated $27,999 to Republican causes, 11,549 to Donald Trump, and $ 8,400 to WinRed. WinRed is the opposite of ActBlue but creates a network of grassroots online donors.
And when you get American corporate greed, expect to see that greed come first over the health of American citizens or, overall, the lives they want us to believe they serve. Price gouging is a part of NFL greed, fleece the masses, baby. And it’s those same masses that are being exposed to a sport of some sort where the playing system is overrated.
With Rugby, the sport that is nearly identical to football, everybody can run, tackle, kick, and defend for example. You can do more with other sports. With football, just one guy is able to throw the ball and only one can kick, only a few can catch, and another few can block. Seeing football on TV is just as boring with the countless commercials and even something like the two-minute warning. With the insane contracts with different networks, it’s easy to see this league has been willing to do anything for greed.
I began to understand why I preferred other sports, the culture, fans, and the playing system way better the more I got involved in environments surrounding these other sports. This fueled my disinterest in football, along with how I began to see how it collates into American culture. By looking at the bigger picture involving everything related to greed. Not to say there aren’t any downsides to other sports, it’s just some things that deserve to be talked about in such a light. On an endnote, what is soccer here, is actually football on other continents.