The league—and many fans—treat them as cogs without agency.
Christians can and should respect many things. Our allegiance, however, is another matter.
In Concussion, Dr. Bennet Omalu is a Nigerian immigrant and an outsider. This status is complicated by competing ideas of what America is.
America is extraordinarily tolerant of the NFL. “Pro football, it seems, can do anything but drive us away,” wrote the Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rosenthal in August. He described moves the NFL has made that would ruin another business: undercut your partners, maintain a nonprofit status while paying huge executive salaries, accept unnecessary public subsidies, stay out of Los Angeles so your teams can use the prospect of moving there as leverage to keep demanding those subsidies. And this: alienate women, who make up 45 percent of the NFL’s viewership.
Arthur Remillard sees the best of football’s warrior culture as a man training his body into subjection for the protection of the weak and the advancement of all righteous causes. And maybe it’s because I know so little about football, but I don’t see it. How does throwing a ball around a field protect the weak? How does sucking all the money from educational institutions advance righteous causes? How does making a touchdown make a man more righteous?
The NFL gambled on fans’ willingness to endure the replacement refs. It was wrong—a good development for whatever ethical margin a football fan might claim.
A sociologist might see in football a society's need to control and ritualize violence. The church fathers, however, weren't much for sociologists.
Undefeated is a solid piece of filmmaking that is also too little too late. The Oscar-winning documentary by Daniel Lindsay and T. J. Martin concerns the travails of a high school football team in a poor black neighborhood of North Memphis that overcomes years of futility thanks in large part to a white volunteer coach who inspires them to believe in themselves both on and off the field.
A friend sent me an e-mail before yesterday's Steelers-Broncos playoff game. He titled it, "The Steelers vs. God. Want to have brunch?"
It's not primarily the financially shady elements that make me ambivalent about my favorite sport. It's the sometimes dangerous levels of violence.