Are We Entertained

Are we entertained?

At some point in the near future, we as football fans and a society have to ask ourselves are we truly comfortable with what we ask of football players to entertain us.

In news that shocked no one, Junior Seau suffered from CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) before his death.  CTE most commonly occurs in individuals who have had repeated head traumas over a period of years.  It is a degenerative brain disease that finally presents as a type of dementia.

That is just the brain injuries.  There is a whole history of football players who can barely walk, pick up their kids, or have a normal life because of all the hip, knee, ankle, shoulder, wrist, etc. injuries.

They do this all to entertain us on Sunday afternoons.  Yes, they choose to do this and get paid large amounts of money to play this game, but without us watching there would be no money.  In a sense, that makes us as responsible for these injuries as the players and coaches.  Some of us get angry when a player decides, that he is too injured to play and then, those same people, seem to want to deny the effects of playing injured over the course of years.

Is deriving our entertainment at least in part from human beings damaging their bodies irreparably healthy for anyone?

I keep asking these questions because I don’t know the answers.  During the season, I try not to think about all the effects of the injuries.  The more I think about it, the less fun the whole football enterprise becomes.

That is the danger for all of football.  The more information out there about the cumulative effects of football injuries in general and brain injuries in particular, the fewer parents who will allow their children to play and the fewer people who will watch.

Not everywhere, but in certain parts of the country football will disappear.  Like boxing, the participants will all be from only a few parts of the country and they will almost all be from the poorer side of the ledger.  Then it will become more gladiatorial/boxing.

Maybe that is the point of all sports, it offers the poor an opportunity out of their station in the economic hierarchy.  It is their ladder up, but at what cost for the participants?

This post has no narrative, no point.  It is merely asking questions, which I can’t yet answer.  I will watch the NFL playoffs and I will be all in come July and August when college and professional practices start.  I will put my fears and questions to the back of my mind and sit back and enjoy.

I do have the inkling suspicion that for football to survive in the long term it is going to have to look more like the 7-on-7 tournaments that are growing in popularity (as college recruiting tools) then the mechanized precision of today’s game.

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