Today is a Sunday in the fall season in the US and many millions of people will gather round TVs to watch professional football. It used to be the case that Sundays were the only days when they were shown but now you can also see games on Mondays and Thursdays while college games are shown on Saturdays and when their season ends in December, professional football takes those slots too. So basically, football fans can indulge their passions most days of the week.
Franscisco Javier López Frías and Cesar R. Torres raise the question of whether it is actually immoral to watch football, saying that the way Colin Kaepernick and others who protest police brutality have been treated by the NFL, the now well-known danger of brain injury to players, the intense commercialization, and the glorification of violence, makes this a topic worthy of serious consideration. Of the last aspect, this is what they say.
It is not inherent violence but a culture of violence around the sport that is troubling.
Nate Jackson, a former football player, describes in his 2013 memoir, “Slow Getting Up,” that for most of his colleagues, the main rewards of the sport relate to violence. For instance, one of the main lessons players must learn to be successful is “decide what you’re going to do and do it violently.”
Considering all the morally problematic aspects surrounding football, it is worth asking: Is this the kind of social practice around which Americans should imagine and build their national identity?
I used to watch football but now simply cannot because every time I see a hard tackle, I feel sickened at the thought of the brain injury that is occurring. I just cannot in good conscience support that even passively. I do not want people to risk their lives just to entertain me. This is also why I do not watch activities such as tightrope walking and trapeze artists who perform without a safety net. The possibility of danger turns me off but it seems to be the opposite for some people in that the possibility of death or serious injury is what makes it appealing.
For many fans of American football, the suggestion that it is immoral to watch will be considered borderline heresy and even unpatriotic. They may note the Spanish names of the article’s authors and dismiss them as not being real Merkins and thus not understanding the appeal of football.