National Commentary

America’s Obsession With Football

If you subscribe to one of the major cable TV providers, you can now see the shameful American illness pervading everything as professional football season begins.

It’s the kind of illness that produces exploding suicide rates, a decline in life expectancy of white males, an opioid epidemic (have we forgotten how much more potent some of these drugs are than heroin), a race to legalize untested and potentially mentally debilitating marijuana, and, oh yes, Donald Trump, his assault on the free press, constitutional democracy, the domestic economy and basic decency. And we have to add the entire Republican Party under Trump’s influence, incapable of showing anything like the basic morality that led enough conservatives in England to reject a plan that was in direct opposition to the self-interest of their nation. Today’s Republicans can’t do that.

(Can we not say that as it is proven that a hostile foreign power, Russia, was responsible for the election of Trump, it should be no surprise that his tariff, trade and foreign policies are in sharp contradiction to the national interest of the U.S.? What did you expect?)

What is this illness that has seized the controls of our national psyche and political leadership, that locked the door to the cockpit behind it, and is aiming at the nation with a crazed look and splotchy skin on an accelerating nosedive to obliteration?

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What is the cause of the national mania for a “sport” that science has proven damages the brains and causes a wide range of consequential effects, essentially varieties of premature dementia and unbelievably chronic pain, on such a high percentage of its participants?

Are the Russians behind this, too? Well, if not, they undoubtedly fully encourage it…here, that is.

Football stadiums are filled every weekend, and now the professional league has extended its schedule to provide “entertainment” almost every night, and this is not to mention the ubiqitous “experts” that clog our airwaves with their incredibly stupid and meaningless “analysis” of the games.

Oh, we need the “escape” of football, you say. Fine, except that now the game’s biggest heroes are going on the airwaves to promote extreme forms of discrimination, such as star quarterback Drew Brees who is now promoting the viciously homophobic Focus on the Family with TV ads urging children to bring Bibles to their classrooms.

The fundamentally reactionary paradigm of football lies in its very structure, more than its challenge to fans to ignore or minimize the effects of the game on permanent, progressive brain injuries (it’s not just the obvious concussions, it is the cumulative effect of the head’s constant banging during every snap of the ball in practices and games that causes the damage).

It’s in the warriors on the field and the scantily-clad (almost all) women on the sidelines cheering them on.

It’s a metaphor for every war ever fought, with the warriors sacrificing their bodies and brains for the cause and compliant females suppressing their instinctual awareness of the barbaric nature of the ritual to urge their boys to hit harder and harder on the field.

It’s the context that is designed to teach us all that life and the world are a “zero sum” game made up of winners and losers, and that’s it.

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Forget the idea of a “win-win” option for life, as much as every advance in the real progress of our species is based on it. Football teaches us the rules of life, its coaches preach. How totally wrong!

For every winner, there has to be a loser, they propound. BS! How about finding a cure for cancer? Is that a “zero sum” outcome for humanity?

The morality of most sports, the minute they go beyond the health benefits and teamwork lessons to our youth, is repulsive. (I’d like to imagine that an exception is baseball, which is more a “pastime” than a “sport,” but only in the sense that it destroys fewer brains.)

Football “is a business,” some argue. So is the sale of assault rifles. Some parents cite “studies” showing that damage to young brains is less, but those studies have all been debunked. If anything, it is a greater risk.

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