On the Morality of Watching Concussions: Or, My Personal Battle Over (American) Football

Last fall, Scott invited me to post here at Kulturblog on sports. After promptly forgetting and/or procrastinating for several months, I decided to finally write something. Unfortunately, I don’t think my first post here will be that popular a message with sports fans.

One hundred and twelve million people tuned in to the Super Bowl last week, and I admit I was one of them. (Well, at least the first half of the game; halftime came a little after 1AM here, so I went to bed instead of staying up to watch Madonna and the Giants come out as victors.) I admittedly enjoyed the game, though not as much as I enjoyed watching the BBC commentators try to explain American football to a British audience. (Especially when they attempted to explain the “safety” rule when Tom Brady was sacked in the end zone–that was comedy gold.) But I’ve felt guilty for the rest of the week over watching the game, and I still feel bad for tuning in. Why? Because I’ve been somewhat outspoken in my critique of football as a destructive sport that thrives on legions of fans watching top-notch athletes beat each others’ brains out to a point that many will likely die an early death, or at least suffer serious¬†repercussions¬†for much of the rest of their life. I have increasingly grown more strident in my belief that there is something seriously and morally wrong with American culture’s obsession with football, and yet I still gave in and watched the crowning moment of the sport in question. I have sincerely felt troubled with this hypocritical slip, and one of my cousins even called me out on it on facebook. Continue reading