Ethics

Is Watching Football Unethical?

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An NFL football
Petey21

It's been three years, 11 months, and 10 days since former National Football League (NFL) Pro Bowler Dave Duerson shot himself in the chest, not the head, so that his brain could be donated to science. Duerson hoped that researchers could cut it open with a scalpel and figure out what had gone wrong, what had led him to such misery he felt compelled to take his life.

It's been two years, eight months since the great Junior Seau, a 10-time All Pro linebacker, did the same.

It's been just over two years since Jovan Belcher, then a player for the Kansas City Chiefs, murdered his girlfriend and then killed himself outside the team's practice facility as his coaches pleaded with him not to do it.

And it's been more than five years since an NFL study found that its players are vastly more likely to be diagnosed with diseases like Alzheimer's than non-players, "including a rate of 19 times the normal rate for men ages 30 through 49," according to The New York Times. Last fall, the league admitted in court documents that nearly one in three retired players will likely develop long-term cognitive problems. Shortly thereafter, a brain bank run by the Department of Veterans Affairs announced it had found evidence of a brain disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in 76 of 79 former players examined.

CTE, which can lead to rage, depression, dizziness, memory loss, dementia, and more, is caused by head trauma. Repeated blows to the head are standard for a career in the NFL, which means—we are finally realizing—that the long-term consequences of playing football at an elite level are often devastating, even deadly. Duerson, Seau, and Belcher were all diagnosed posthumously with CTE.

No anti-NFL wave is sweeping the nation. A smattering of writers has said they can no longer in good conscience watch professional football. The Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates did it in 2012, after Seau's death, and former sports reporter Steve Almond recently published a book on the topic titled Against Football: One Fan's Reluctant Manifesto. But that is still mostly a fringe position. Millions of people continue to tune in for games; the NFL brings in something in the neighborhood of $10 billion a year in revenues.

All while its players suffer and die.  

What ought we to do about it? The wrong solution, most Reason readers would probably agree, brings to bear the heavy hand of government, attempting to regulate away the danger or to end the game completely through brute coercive force. But what of our moral obligations as consumers? Should we refuse to support a venture that leads so predictably to the outcomes described above?

Analogy No. 1: Prostitution

As a thought experiment, let's imagine that prostitution has been legalized in your state. Most libertarians would probably view that as a win for justice. Consenting adults should get to decide the terms under which they will engage in sex, not government officials, and people shouldn't be punished for their choice about how to make a living as long as others' rights are not being violated. 

Still, if your teenage child declared her intention to become a prostitute, you might be concerned about the dangers—the added risk of contracting a disease, say, or the emotional toll such work could take. You might feel that selling one's body is a bad thing to do from a consequentialist perspective, a moral one, or both. 

A person can believe an action is wrong even if she doesn't believe it should be legally prohibited. As libertarians, we generally respect a person's autonomy under the law to weigh risks against benefits and decide how to make a living. But we aren't required to accept or encourage her behavior if we believe what she is doing is objectionable. Even if this particular example doesn't strike you as immoral, chances are you can think of something you view as wrong without believing it should be illegal. Adultery is often a good example. Could playing professional football be one as well?

Analogy No. 2: The Drug War

Reason has been one of the longest, loudest advocates for ending the war on drugs. Of the many reasons—and there are myriad—one is that the black markets that inevitably emerge under prohibition act like a magnet, pulling in disadvantaged young people who (perhaps naively) see trafficking narcotics as their ticket to more status and a better life. Very often they end up caught in a violent system that ends with prison or an early death.

When it comes to drug policy, we understand that economic incentives can lead people to make tragically poor short-term decisions, and we view that as a good reason to work to alter the incentives. Dollars spent on merchandise and game tickets and cable packages, which make football players' lucrative incomes possible, also incentivize a certain type of short-term behavior. Why wouldn't consumers be in some way morally culpable for those football players' violent ends?

Says the University of San Diego philosophy professor Matt Zwolinski, "As a general principal, if it's wrong to do something yourself, it's wrong to pay someone else to do it." Inflicting traumatic head injuries on hundreds of people is pretty clearly morally problematic. Is spending money on a form of entertainment that leads to the same outcome any better?

Analogy No. 3: Boycotts

Libertarians often say that even many morally odious activities don't need to be illegal, in part because market forces can be used to keep such things in check. During the contentious debate over whether Arizona businesses should be allowed to refuse to participate in same-sex weddings last year, my colleague Scott Shackford wrote the following:

People have the right to determine with whom they wish to do business. Occasional misbegotten bigotry is the price of living in a free society. Being an asshole is a right, while having somebody bake you a wedding cake isn't.…We have plenty of tools outside the force of the state to respond to bigotry. We have protests, and the media, and online reviews, and social platforms, and competition, and so many more ways to respond to bigotry than we did back in the days of segregation.

In other words, there are ways do the right thing without government compulsion. If a business discriminates against a certain class of people, consumers have the right to punish the business by withholding their patronage. As libertarians, we see this as an altogether superior method of encouraging people not to be jerks. 

But if we are going to hold up social pressure as an alternative to government interference, we need to be willing to use it. "We've got organizations like Consumer Reports that serve a kind of regulatory function in the market," says Zwolinski. "I think it's important in a way for libertarians to not just tolerate those sorts of things but also to embrace it. You want government out of the picture so that people can take care of themselves, but the market only works if people are actively involved in understanding what they're buying, and what the alternatives are, and what all goes into it."

Ethical consumerism—refusing to participate in or support commercial activities we believe to be objectionable from a moral standpoint—is the alternative to government intervention. If it bothers us that professional football is an industry in which the workers physically destroy themselves as a matter of course, perhaps we have an even stronger obligation as libertarians to eschew it.

Analogy No. 4: Sweatshops

Boycotting products that come from third world sweatshops is a bad idea. Libertarians understand that the people who work in such places generally have no better alternatives—they accept the employment willingly, knowing that at the end of the day they (or their families) are very likely to be more prosperous for it. Attempting to put a sweatshop out of business actually takes away people's best option for improving their lives. It is a net negative for the very individuals anti-sweatshop activists presumably mean to help.

Could ending professional football as we know it have similar consequences, by removing an avenue for personal advancement? Until recently, it seemed obvious that NFLers ended up better off on average for having played the game—that it more or less made sense for them to decide the rewards were worth the risk. But revelations about the prevalence of head trauma suffered on the field and its long-term effects for players seem to at least call that calculation into question. Harvard researchers have found that NFL players' lives are, on average, almost two decades shorter than average American men's lives. In many cases, they die horrifically (as one sports writer put it, "from the inside out"), with brain damage destroying "not only what people can do, but also who they are, now and forever."

It doesn't always take decades for things to go wrong. It's been 38 days since the body of Ohio State University wrestler and walk-on football player Kosta Karageorge was found in a dumpster. In a text message to his mother before he apparently killed himself, he apologized for being an embarrassment and blamed "these concussions." He was 22.

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285 responses to “Is Watching Football Unethical?

  1. Is Watching Football Unethical?

    No, it’s just stupid.

        1. +4 (I have multiple personalities, and they all concur)

  2. There’s absolutely nothing unethical about watching homoerotic pornography.

  3. Football’s popularity has peaked. Fan interest won’t subside enough to kill it off any time soon, but the pipeline of young players will eventually dry up, with high schools not willing to take the legal risk that goes along with fielding a team.

    1. THIS

      I believe you are correct in both “peak interest” and future likelihood of decline, esp due to legal concerns in amateur ranks.

      1. I think if there were any legitimate legal concerns in the lower levels of football, you’d already be seeing the lawsuits. Given the society we live in.

      2. I honestly believe the Lions-Cowboys game will prove more a turning point than head injuries.

        There are a lot of people right now who are waking up to the reality that the NFL is influencing games so that bigger market teams and popular celebrity players will advance.

        I, for one, am done with the NFL.

        1. Thanks for reminding me of that SHIT game. If I actually cared about sports outcomes, I’d have offed myself after that game.

          Since I bet – before the season started – that the Lions would make the playoffs but lose – painfully, heartbreakingly – in the first round…well, I may change my handle to Nostradamus or Rasputin…

    2. We have a larger population now. Football doesn’t need to dominate the pool of athletes to have a sufficient number of elite ones to make watchable games. Football is going to become like the military, a cultural statement. The segment of society that plays it, their kids will play it. The various “not my snowflake” douche bags wont.

      1. The snowflakes would have never made it to the NFL anyways.

      2. If people want to play football, I see no reason why anyone shouldn’t watch it. But I don’t think that it is completely irrational or douchey for parents to take the dangers into account when it comes to football or military service.

        But it seems like high school football isn’t so damaging, and people who can play in the NFL are adults and, now at least, are aware of the dangers and they can decide for themselves.

    3. My kids aren’t playing football while they live under my roof. I had too many concussions.

      Other parents might not feel the same way.

      1. That is dumb. Your kids can get hurt playing any sport. Go look at the concussion rates for soccer sometime. I played football for 8 years and the only time in my life I ever got a concussion was from heading a ball in a fucking intermural soccer match.

        Worrying about your kids getting a concussion because people who played in the NFL for 17 years ended up with brain damage is like saying you shouldn’t ever let them learn to drive because Aryton Senna died in a car accident. One activity is done at such a high level as to no longer be anything like the other, despite outward appearances.

        1. I played football for 8 years

          We’vew also seen you spell, John.

          1. And Joe’z Law

          2. And I have seen the rest of you think. I will take my bad spelling any day, thank you.

            1. I’m not saying they’re outright rigged. Just that I believe there is a small conspiracy from the front office to get one or two refs on the officiating teams to nudge games in favorable directions.

              It’s no coincidence that the worst call I’ve ever seen sent the team that drew a 25.0 Neilsen rating into the next round.

              1. What was the worst call you’ve ever seen? The non-call on the pass? It wasn’t a penalty. And I hate all things Dallas.

                1. Lance Easley and the Fail Mary?

                  At least, that’s the worst call I saw in an NFL game. In any football game, it would have to be Thorsten Frings not being red-carded in the QF of the 2002 World Cup.

              2. So why bother watching professional wrestling, I mean football?

        2. Once again, John, you have all the subtlety of a bull in a china shop.

          When you play skill position like I did (cornerback), and you do it well, every single hit, every single contact, every play takes away from your brain. TBIs occur in football even at the high school level. When I started forgetting where I parked my car or where I was going, I walked away from the game. Smartest thing I ever did.

          1. The science says otherwise. See Tman’s link below. Other sports are just as or more dangerous than football. Thousands of girls damn near cripple themselves every year from knee injuries playing soccer.

            Your position, while it is your right to hold it, is just not backed up by the science on the subject.

            1. Knees aren’t brains.

              Whether Playa is right or wrong, his opinion is becoming more common, especially among educated people. Football is very close to becoming strictly a sport for the underclass because of it, I think.

              1. BAd knees suck bad. And the data shows that football doesn’t harm your brain anymore than any other sport.

                And if more people think otherwise, that doesn’t make them any more correct. And worse, it just means they are believing a set of lies put out by assholes who just want to end the sport because they think it is working class and American and they being assholes hate and want to destroy anything they perceive as such.

                1. And knee replacements are no big deal now. And soon enough they’ll be able to squirt some stem cells in your knee and grow you a new meniscus. People might be off-base in thinking that football is so much more terrible for brains, but they’re right to value brain health over other body parts.

                  1. Most knee injuries can be mitigated by squatting properly. Girls, in particular, seem to avoid strength training so they don’t get “bulky” and prefer yoga, which will improve flexibility, but you won’t be strong in those flexible positions.

                    I hope the stem cell thing is right. One of my biggest regrets was replacing my ACL with my hamstring. It’s been 1.5 years and I’m still not as explosive as I used to be. Should have used the donated achilles graft.

                  2. But Warty, football doesn’t hurt your brain anymore than any other sport.

                    1. You’re probably right. They’ve got the causality backwards: football enthusiasts are football enthusiasts because they have brain damage, not vice versa. 😉

                  3. As someone who recently had both knees replaced, it still is a big deal. It’s been 11 weeks, I’m still rehabbing and still being affected every time I want to do something with my legs (like walking). And I’m doing very well.

                2. “BAd knees suck bad. And the data shows that football doesn’t harm your brain anymore than any other sport.”

                  Any other sport? Golf, badminton, swimming, volleyball, cross country, tennis.

                  I’m going out on a limb and suggesting that football players have more brain injuries/diminishment than these other athletes.

                  Of course, I would discourage my child from playing football primarily because it is such a stupid fucking sport. I played it and virtually every other possible sport throughout my youth and it is by far the least enjoyable sport I ever participated in.

                  Also, a large percentage of the coaches are hulking retards.

                  In fact, I just had a flash that the same people who actually enjoy playing football could be the same people who actually enjoy being policemen. Just musing here.

              2. My mom wouldn’t sign permission slips for my brother or me to play high school football. Because of the injury concerns.

                This is anecdotal, but many of my friends who played high school ball do have some sort of nagging problem that started back then, especially the ones that went on to play in college. It’s a lot of abuse on the body, no question.

                It’ll all work out when we have cyborgs in football.

            2. I value my brain over my knees. It’s not even close.

              Same goes for my kids. They won the genetic fucking lottery, and there’s no way I’m going to let them waste it.

              1. If you value their brains, play, I assume you are not letting them play any sport or so much as ride a bicycle. Otherwise, you are just being superstitious.

                1. Soccer might be in the same league in football because it routinely involves blows to the head. But riding a bike is just silly. Yes, you can get injured, but it’s not an inherent part of the sport to get hit in the head.

                  1. Silly is an understatement. I’ve been biking almost daily (main form of transportation) for sixteen years, and I have never hit my head doing it, not even the maybe two times I’ve actually fallen off, which at worst led to skinned knees. If you avoid riding your bike in oncoming traffic or on freeways, your risk of serious injury is probably negligible.

                    Maybe for John biking means riding your bike head on into other bicyclists. That’s not how you’re supposed to do it as I understand it.

            3. John, with all do respect, you sound like an asshole here. People who care about their kids are douchebags?

              1. JOhn, with all doo doo respect, STFU.

              2. Precisely. I hear if kids don’t get roughed up enough while young they grow into giant pussies.

            4. Actually,

              The science supports Playa’s position…even at the highschool level. You may want to check out this data from a Purdue University study of highschool football players:

              http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom…..tball.html

        3. “That is dumb.”

          You is dumb

          /best comeback ever

      2. Not to mention the broken furniture.

    4. I don’t know – my high school in CT just recently started a football program (3 or so years ago). I know they raised and spent at least six figures for it. I doubt it is going away anytime soon.

    5. Football is a massive deal in every High School around here – from the shittiest public school to the snotty private schools the stands are packed every game.

      And I’m in NJ, not Texas.

    6. I stopped watching football this year only because I didn’t have the time to commit to watching the games. I thought I would really miss it. I was wrong.

  4. Stop.

    Just stop.

    This is worse than a free-range kids post.

  5. “As a general principal, if it’s wrong to do something yourself, it’s wrong to pay someone else to do it.”

    Most kids and adults for that matter dream of being an NFL player.

    1. I could sit here in die a slow death in my cubicle or go play football and and be a demigod. Hmmmm…. tough choice.

      1. “The flame that burns Twice as bright burns half as long.”

        ? Lao Tzu, Te Tao Ching

        Seems like a lot of people would prefer a safe life in a padded room, eating gruel, as long as it lasts as long as possible.

    2. I can’t remember the last time I saw a fan pay an NFL player.

    3. Never ever did I dream of this. Not when I played the game and not after. I view footbal players as the retards of the Sportsworld. I can’t imagine having to spend time in such an environment no matter the pay.

  6. SUPERMODELS HAVE BULEMIA, SUFFER DEPRESSION, KILL THEMSELVES

    DERP FASHION CONSUMPTION MORAL OBLIGATIONS DERP

    FATTY FOODS HEART ATTACKS

    STEAKHOUSE EXPLOITATION

    DERPITY DERP DERP DERP

    1. Wait, there’s steak?

  7. lots of victim blaming going on today.

    1. Who exactly is the victim being blamed in this post?

      1. me the viewer.

        1. I feel totally slut shamed by this article.

          1. And microaggressed against.

  8. Who let this idiot in here?

    I’d expect the proper Reason headline-question to be “SHOULD MMA BE INCLUDED IN SCHOOL SPORTS?”

    1. ENTER THE OCTAGON!!!!

      *crab flex*

    2. I have a cunning plan. Shaolin temple/learning academy. In the U.S., for kids. I figure I can get maybe $12K/year in most markets.

      Mental and physical discipline. Self-defense. Learn at Pro Libertate’s Shaolin Academy of Pain.

      1. “Look Mrs Smith, Billy’s done fine in most of his core curricula, but you’re going to need to consider summer school to address his Pebble-Snatching issues. He might have to entirely redo his Purple Belt at the rate he’s progressing”

        1. Cracked recently ran something about how bad-ass such training really is. So I’m thinking that you grab a monk, bring him here, and institute the same training, but for kids. The whole shebang, including bending spears with your throat, slugging boulders, and so on. Obviously, insurance and very strongly worded releases are advisable.

          And no one gets his diploma without moving that iron urn full of coals out of the way first. And snatching pebbles. And walking on rice paper without leaving a trace. And reconciling relativity and quantum theory.

          1. The Shaolin Teachers Union will be hell to deal with.

            1. That’s okay, I’ll turn their wrath on the parents and kids, where it belongs. Besides, Shaolin are remarkably cheap.

              1. So were teachers – until they unionized.

          2. Count me in, I’ll be a lunch lady.

      2. Just remember to nod to Pai Mei if you walk past him, or he’ll massacre your entire order.

        /Kill Bill reference

  9. In the end, what livelihood an individual pursues is little, if any, business of anyone else’s. If you willingly accept the risks for the fame and fortune then you willingly accept the repercussions as well. That said, further scientific study into the potential risks to professional as well as college and younger players is a good idea so that the risks can be better understood.

    I believe there are things the NFL could do to lessen the occurrence and severity of head trauma but that might radically change the game and I don’t think the NFL and the team owners are remotely willing to consider that just yet – that will take a death on the field on national television. Maybe.

    1. Yeah, they are there own worst enemy. Greed always gets you. Ndamukong Suh should have been kicked out of the league a long time ago. They have all of the power and a virtual monopoly. Its not like they couldn’t address it.

        1. Why doesn’t someone just destroy that guy’s knee?

  10. I betcha Reason has a Millennial poll on this.

  11. I support the no targeting rules although I think they could be handled better. Its not only bad tackling form, trying to hurt people intentionally is bad sportsmanship whether some dumb ass fan wants to see it or not. I also thing the helmets are getting better.

    1. Agreed on all points JB. And the helmets aren’t just better, they’re light years better than what I had just 15 years ago.

  12. My interest in American football begins and ends with the lady cheerleaders.

    1. Pisses me off that they come back from commercial, camera’s are on the cheerleaders and there’s some giant ad or network logo covering them up. Its total bullshit.

      1. Yup. But I bet the network gets a better rate for that spot since your interest is now firmly on the screen.

      2. It’s worse than scrambled soft-core porn.

      3. Have you noticed how little time they’re willing to give to the cheerleaders? This season it’s been limited to about 4 to 8 seconds per game throughout the season. It’s just gotten to be too politically incorrect to show the pretty women.

        GO REDSKINS!

        1. GO REDSKINS!

          You’re goddamn right!

  13. most of the injuries are probably due to the game moving away from tackling and towards monster hits to take someone down. Bob Lilly tackled people. it’s a bit of a lost art.

    1. Traditional wrap-tackles seem far safer and I can’t remember the last time I saw one in an NFL game, especially on a pass reception.

      1. Form tackling is making a comeback. Players are being taught helmet behind hip, wrap and roll. I know the Buckeyes are being taught this.

        1. I am glad to hear this. Now, if OSU could just get its alumni to stop saying The Ohio State University…

          1. Some other team has started to do that too. Don’t remember who. Its pretty dumb I agree.

            1. Another team is calling themselves The Ohio State University?

            2. I heard another player say that in an NFL intro. It might have been Alabama. Some SEC school, I think. I agree it’s stupid.

              1. It is so stupid. I swear to God if I ever become Emperor of Americarama, I’m going to ban the use of the definite article in university names, right before I ban public universities.

                I think I’ve told the story here about how an Ohio State University’s research foundation gave me shit in the 1990s about leaving out the “The” in a blurb in some paper I published. An academic study, which brought in a nice chunk of change for the stupid school from the NSF. I told them that I’d arrange to have UF humiliate them in the next decade as revenge.

              2. It’s Miami….they just say THE U, believe it’s from the Jimmy Johnson or Larry Stewart years when they bacame a national player.

        2. I heard somewhere that some NFL teams have been talking to rugby union trainers about tackling techniques.

          1. I heard that Robert Kraft is erecting a bronze Aaron Hernandez outside of Foxboro as a token of welcoming to Ravens fans because they are used to attending games at stadiums that have a statue of a murderer.

            Also, the game time is being pushed back 15 minutes because the Baltimore players are being required to take the stairs (the elevators are quicker).

  14. All while its players suffer and die.

    After having spent years of their lives doing exactly what they want, fully aware of the risks, all while sleeping on top of a pile of money with many beautiful ladies.

  15. No you pussy.

  16. It doesn’t matter. Football is dooomed. It will be a fringe sport like boxing soon enough.

    1. I love the sweet taste of your brown, brown tears.

      I’ll think of you and giggle uncontrollably during the Ravens-Patriots playoff game. Since you’re from Cleveland, you may have to call someone from Cincinnati to explain to you what “playoff game” means.

      1. For once I’m not whining about the notorious scumfuck Art Modell and your illegitimate team of assholes. Football has no chance to survive as-is long-term.

        1. Football has no chance to survive as-is long-term

          what about the real Football, i.e. Soccer?

          1. It’s the sport of trash the world over. Maybe American trash will internationalize, but it’ll take a while.

          2. Do adults actually play that game? I thought it was just for kids, like dodge ball or tether ball.

            1. Adults are too big of pussies to play dodgeball.

              Another game I LOVED as a kid 🙂

          3. the future belongs to 3 ball soccer.

    2. Bud Selig has a happy.

  17. All while its players suffer and die.

    I’m in the auto bidness, and you know what? ALL of our employees suffer and die, eventually. We’d better shutter all the factories, before anyone else dies.

    What a STUPID FUCKING ARTICLE. I’M DUMBER FOR HAVING WASTED A COUPLE SECONDS SCANNING IT BEFORE I REALIZED THE DERP WAS SO STRONG NO ONE COULD SURVIVE.

    Fuck you, Stephanie Slade, you griefer, and fuck you, Reason, for running this. This has been entered in the “Deduction” column for 2015 contributions….

    *flips bird with both hands*

    1. Translation: “Shut your whore mouth, the men are watching the game.”

      1. Go make us some sandwiches!

    2. Preach it Almanian!!

    3. Is it OK for vegetarians to watch lions killing zebras on the Discovery Channel? I’m going to bring this up at my next Cocktail Party. If I can keep a straight face while doing so.

      1. We have better things to do with our time than watch TV.

    4. “Sorry….”

      /Jack Burton after he skids the truck to a stop in “Big Trouble…”

      1. Watched it with my kid last night. Never gets old.

        1. “‘China is where the heart is.’ WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN??”

          1. It means Egg Shen wanted to got to Miami Beach rather than all the way back to China.

            1. “You were not put on this earth to ‘get it’, Mister Burton.”

              1. “Just remember what ol’ Jack Burton does when the earth quakes, and the poison arrows fall from the sky, and the pillars of Heaven shake. Yeah, Jack Burton just looks that big ol’ storm right square in the eye and he says, “Give me your best shot, pal. I can take it.”

                1. “It’s all in the reflexes”

    5. Your negging is not going to work. She’s not going to go out with you.

    6. Griefer? Isn’t that Minecraft slang? Get back in your mom’s basement.

    7. Kudos to MarkLastname; it seems that you (Alamanian) do need to get back to your mom’s basement. I strongly doubt you are “dumber for having wasted a few seconds” because based on the strength of your “bidness” argument, you likely had moderate to profound mental retardation at baseline.

  18. Football is not going anywhere. Maybe we start using cyborgs with titanium skulls though.

  19. Apparently football fans speak in ALL CAPS.

    1. I’m not even a fan for the record

      I resent anyone injecting bullshit contrived morality into consumption choices. The fact that football is televised doesn’t force young men into choosing to smash into each other over and over again. People play sports because they love to, and the most talented ones are paid to do it. Big whoop.

      1. Correction:

        “and the most talented ones are paid staggeringly large sums to do it.”

      2. I resent anyone injecting bullshit contrived morality into consumption choices.

        Fair enough, and I agree. I like to pick on football though – not because it’s violent, but because it’s cartoonish.

      3. I kind of agree. Those of us who are good at useful things like math and reading don’t have to compete for jobs with the ones who are good at public dry humping for jobs once they’re bed-ridden at 46.

  20. While we’re at it

    Auto racing = cars crash? Oh noes.

    Tennis = will no one think of the elbows?

    Women’s Beach Vollyball = skin cancer rates are alarming

    Horse Racing = the Complex Ethics of Riding Crops

    Skydiving = Is there a point?

    1. Equestrian sports have a FAR higher rate of concussion than football does…as does professional soccer, oddly, enough. I don’t see any fucktards saying watching those sports is unethical (well, aside from crazy animal rights activists, anyway).

      1. Not to steal from a point John will inevitably make….

        …but the hand-wringing about Football is basically a “Culture War” for Suburban Soccer Moms.

        Its classism masked as a public-health concern. They’ll ignore a thousand other things that produce similar ‘health risks’ in order to pick on this because its one of the few remaining high-profile (high$) symbols of ‘exclusively male’ pursuits. Its also a ‘kind’ of male activity they bemoan = ‘Senselessly violent’, etc.

        1. If soccer moms turned against soccer, what would the new clich? for them be?

          1. They would remain soccer moms because you can’t get worse than soccer mom.

        2. Football combines the worst two things in American culture, violence and committee meetings- Vince Lombardi

          1. “Football combines the worst two things in American culture, violence and committee meetings- Vince Lombardi”

            That is funny.

            Kickboxing is great because it combines the style and grace of boxing with…uh…with kicking. – Norm Macdonald

        3. Not just soccer moms, but beta males as well.

          1. Is it just me, or does use of the word ‘beta’ these days seem like a good indicator that one is most likely an illiterate roid-raging closet homosexual?

        4. “…but the hand-wringing about Football is basically a “Culture War” for Suburban Soccer Moms.”

          Ding ding ding!

          The Elites telling the Peasants they are vulgar and uncouth.

    2. Don’t forget:

      Alpine Skiing – moar crashes! Oh but nobody watches so who cares (well I watch…).

      Competitive fishing – barbed hooks and knives and someone could fall overboard and drown!

      Gymnastics – lots of injuries here but there’s no way the IOC will take that out of the summer Olympics, is there?

      1. Because everyone knows figure skaters have never gotten hurt

        1. + Nancy Kerrigan’s knee

          1. Figure skating’s high-flying beauty blurs a hazardous side effect

            … experts ? and athletes ? say that for all its beauty, the sport can be brutal, leading to under-recognized but potentially devastating concussions…

            …Team USA figure skating star Evan Lysacek told TMZ Sports last month that’s he’s had between 15 and 20 concussions during his career.

            You know, sometimes we fall at 20 miles an hour. Your neck just kinda snaps back,” he told TMZ.

            Spectacular falls like the one U.S. champion Jeremy Abbott took during the men’s short program Thursday aren’t usually the culprit, experts say. While concussions can happen on big moves, they’re more often the result of inattention when a skater’s not prepared to fall.

            TBIs account for about 11 percent of all ice-skating injuries that send children to the emergency room, according to a 2011 review by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By comparison, about 7 percent of all football visits were for head injuries.

      2. Alpine skiing occasionally kills people.

        1. -1 Sonny Bono

        2. I can’t remember the last time a racer was killed in a crash. People that get killed while alpine skiing are self-selecting out of the gene pool and I’m ok with that.

    3. You’ve got a point. The x games feautures seriously life threatening sports. The nannies haven’t got there yet because tow in surfing is zen and its best athletes are tied into the green movement.

  21. Car racing often kills its participants and sometimes its spectators. Is it unethical to watch that? People know the risks and choose to take them because they enjoy it and are well paid. If watching them do that is “unethical” then giving them the freedom to do it is unethical too.

    This article is ridiculous and idiotic.

  22. Ok, I’m going to admit to being extremely biased here(asking me this is like asking Eddie if you can be Catholic and libertarian) but what the fuck! American football has been around for over a century. Concussion problems are a recent phenomenon mostly confined to the highest level of the sport(which I might add has shitty tackling form which is probably the cause of most concussions). How can you imply that the entire game down to the lowest levels is immoral?

    1. Because we have to eliminate all risks involved with living free. For the children.

    2. You can’t, unless you are a fucking moron.

    3. The ‘immoral’ aspect of the article is idiotic. It’s the worst sort of concern trolling – it’s a classic progtard appeal to emotion instead of, you know, Reason.

      1. Reason really has been going to the Progs lately.

    4. Concussion problems aren’t just recent by any means. The old-timers had seriously fucked-up noggins.

      I really like football, and people should obviously be free to play football, but they’re going to want to do it a lot less now that CTE is widely known about. Or, to be more precise, their mothers won’t want them to do it.

      1. The old-timers had seriously fucked-up noggins.

        I hope I’m half as sharp at 85 as Artie Donovan was. And in his career, he didn’t exactly avoid contact.

      2. I don’t watch a lot of football but aren’t today’s players monstrously huge compared to the old-timers? That would seem to have some impact on injuries.

  23. Turns out that playing soccer is worse for your head than Football.

    Comparison of impact data in hockey, football, and soccer.

    Doesn’t anyone research before they write these fucking articles anymore?

    Sheesh. Cmon Reason, get your act together.

    1. Soccer players get concussions pretty often, but my understanding of CTE is that it’s the thousands and thousands of minor concussions over a career that do the real damage, not so much the few big concussions a player will get.

      1. The study was measuring the acceleration of the brain caused by “heading” the ball (vs. being tackled or checked in football and hockey), which is a fairly common occurrence, and concludes that accumulated neurological damage is possible.

        1. Of course soccer could end that problem by outlawing heading. Other sports, not so easy.

      2. As a former player and coach, I honestly have no idea where those thousands of head shots would come from other than poor tackling which can certainly be fixed.

        1. Every single play of practice? I played too. Plenty of players like to use their noggins to gain leverage like a Greco-Roman wrestler does.

          1. How about the fact that you actually practice heading the ball in soccer, whereas you don’t really practice tackling someone head first in football. They are actively promoting “heads up” tackling now much more than they used to at the high school and lower levels of football.

            1. I played soccer too. Nobody heads as many balls as a center takes hits to the head.

              1. But warty, the center is wearing a helmet. Why do you not believe the data? It is what it is.

                1. Data only measures what it’s measuring. Put an accelerometer in a center’s helmet for every practice and every game he ever plays. Put an accelerometer on a soccer player who loves headballs and follow his career. See whose brain is taking more abuse.

                  1. Last year the former Wales captain Gary Speed hanged himself at home. Speed, who was serving as the coach of the Welsh national team and had two daughters, was not known to be depressed. But he was regarded as one of the best “headers” in pro soccer. If there was a ball in the air, Gary Speed would win it. That may have been his downfall, though it’s not clear if either player suffered from CTE.

                    http://www.latitudenews.com/st…..e-head-on/

                    1. In 2012, Patrick Grange a semi-pro soccer player, was diagnosed in an autopsy with Stage 2 CTE with motor neuron disease. “The fact that Patrick Grange was a prolific header is important,” Christopher Nowinski, co-founder of the Sports Legacy Institute, said in an e-mail. “We need a larger discussion around at what age we introduce headers, and how we set limits to exposure once it is introduced.”[63] Grange played soccer at high school; college at Illinois-Chicago and New Mexico; in the Premier Development League; for Albuquerque Asylum and Chicago Fire Premier. He died of ALS at age 29 in 2012 with a posthumous diagnosis of CTE.[64]

                      It happens with soccer players too.

                    2. Sure. I’m not commenting on the relative safety of the sports. I think it’s likely that most soccer players don’t get as fucked up as most football players, but there aren’t numbers to say.

                      It’s just become pretty clear that repeated blows to the head are not good for you. That’s all I’m saying.

                    3. It’s just become pretty clear that repeated blows to the head are not good for you. That’s all I’m saying.

                      Pretty sure no one is arguing that. The point is that football is not unique in terms of CTE problems, this terribly researched Reason article not withstanding.

                      Had someone maybe looked up a comparison of Football vs Soccer they would’ve included some type of analysis in the piece. Instead it’s the usual hit job on Football, inferring that those who play past high school or even up to high school are in grave danger of traumatic brain damage, without mentioning that Football is hardly the only major sport that has this issue.

                    4. I should note, as someone who played football and soccer, that my longest lasting injury was a notch in my shin that I still have. Soccer was the villain. . .though I should confess that it happened because I wasn’t wearing a shin guard. Oops.

          2. When you say gain leverage are you talking about getting your head across somebody like on a down block? Because even then most of the hit should be made with the shoulder. Lineman just seem to be too close together to do any real damage even if they do bump heads.(FTR I have always taught shoulder blocking with your helmet to the side) linebackers I could see, but anything behind that is open field stalk blocking which again involves little acceleration at the point of attack.

            1. I mean like Mike Webster played. He liked to get his forehead into someone’s chin and stand them up. Literally every single one of his highlights in that little video has him hitting with his forehead first.

              1. Mike Webster played in the NFL for like 15 years Warty. His case says nothing about the hazards of playing the sport in high school.

                1. Sure it does. It suggests that someone who plays with his style for only 4 years might reasonably expect, say, 1/8th of the damage.

                  1. That is absurd Warty.

                    The NFL is exponentially more violent and the collisions more violent than anything in high school. There is probably more force involved in the collisions in a single NFL game than an entire year of high school football.

                    1. Fine, choose another denominator. The point is it’s not good for you. Everyone is free to decide how much damage they’d like to suffer, but it’s quite clear there’s damage being done.

                    2. But Warty no sport is “good for you”. They all have risks. Football is no better or worse than the others.

                    3. The numbers aren’t there right now to say whether it’s better or worse. But the zeitgeist believes (can I say that?) that it’s worse, right or wrong. Which goes back to my original point that football is doomed.

              2. Ok I see what you’re saying. It’s just to me, proper technique doesn’t involve the head. When I played, we were a zone team. We were always taught to block half a man( attack out side shoulder) and have are heads to the side. I coached in a gap scheme so we blocked inside gap with shoulders and forearms. Defensively, I played and coached in a one gap system so we had a similar philosophy(attack the shoulder). It was very rare for me or any of my players to actually hit heads at practice.

                1. You’re absolutely correct that that’s better technique. And I think it’s no accident that Mike Webster is the poster boy for fucked-up NFL brains.

            2. Let me put it this way. How many times did Mohammed Ali get knocked out? Not many, right. How many sub-knockout blows did he take to his head? Many thousands, right. And how’s he doing now?

              1. But nothing you take in high school football even approaches a single good hit to the head by a quality heavy weight Warty. You are comparing apples to oranges.

                1. Nonsense. Big hits happen even among 16-year-old fat kids. Not nearly as often, obviously, but they’re there.

                  The worst concussion I ever got in a game happened when I submarined on a goal line play and a pulling guard kicked me in the head and tripped over me. I was fucked up for a while. A fat kid can kick you in the head at least as hard as a heavyweight can jab you, right?

                  1. No, I will take the fat kid’s kick every time, especially if I am wearing a helmet. Have you ever seen a boxing match live? TV doesn’t begin to do the justice of the violence of those punches. Football is not even close to boxing.

                    1. Warty,

                      I boxed regularly until I was about 18, and I played football too.

                      I’ll take the head shots from Football any day over the shots you take from boxing, and I wore head gear most of the time boxing. It’s not even remotely comparable, trust me. Pretty much every single boxer who does it professionally will have brain problems when they get older, this isn’t the same with football players.

                    2. Every boxer gets fucked up, which is why only people with no better options do it professionally. Do football players get as fucked up? Probably not. But I wouldn’t be shocked to learn that every pro football player has brain damage by the time he retires.

              2. “And how’s he doing now?”

                Actually, his urinary tract infection has cleared up fine.

      3. RESULTS:

        Peak accelerations inside the helmet for football averaged 29.2 g compared with 35 g for hockey (p = .004). There were no incidents of concussion or other traumatic brain injury during the recorded periods. In contrast, the peak accelerations associated with heading a soccer ball was 54.7 g (p = 2 x 10(-5) vs. hockey).

        The research shows -quite clearly I might add- that heading the ball thousands of times is far worse for your brain than the the head impacts you get from football.

        Sure would’ve been interesting to insert this VERY AVAILABLE PIECE OF DATA in to the above article.

    2. Soccer is the sport of sophisticated Europeans and hipsters. Football is enjoyed by white trash and black Americans and is therefore icky.

      1. Football is enjoyed by white trash and black Americans and is therefore icky

        There is probably a lot more of this involved than anything else.

        1. I’m not black, so I must be white trash. Huh. Who knew?

          1. Sorry but I am not advocating that point but pointing out that the literati and intelligentsia believe that about football and it’s fans, and that’s why it is icky.

            1. I’m not of the literati and intelligentsia?

              /runs away weeping

      2. This article is clearly racist #blackathletesmatter.

      3. Soccer is the sport of sophisticated Europeans and hipsters

        Of course in reality it is the lower classes who are the biggest soccer fans in Europe.

        1. hooligans

    3. Turns out wearing a helmet protects your head.

      1. Especially when you mess up your flop and smack the back of your head on the ground.

      2. Which only encourages players to hit each other all the harder.

    4. Turns out that playing soccer is worse for your head than Football.

      And it’s gayer.

      1. Please! Have some respect for gay people.

        call them “fruity euro douches” or something

    5. My next door neighbor was a great athlete. Played high school football for a year, but was put out of business by repeated concussions as a soccer goalie.

      1. He must have had a really shitty defense in front of him.

  24. Says the University of San Diego philosophy professor Matt Zwolinski, “As a general principal, if it’s wrong to do something yourself, it’s wrong to pay someone else to do it.”

    Sounds to me that we need to make philosophy a contact sport. Or just punch Matt Zwolinski in the face every time he asks for money until he gets the notion that one action is intrinsically different from a completely different action.

    1. no no, let him keep going. He just made the argument that paying taxes is immoral if anything the the government does is immoral.

      Since there is nothing immoral about playing football, there is nothing immoral about paying other people to do it.

      1. You misunderstand.

        Its immoral if you do it.
        Its immoral to pay someone else to do it.
        But its moral to do it together and, really, what is government but the things we do together?

    2. I thought I’d heard his name before:

      http://www.libertarianism.org/columnists

      1. “Matt Zwolinski is the founder of and a regular contributor to the blog Bleeding Heart Libertarians.”

        You know, those REAL libertarians, who write enormous amounts of philosophical wankery about how Property is ‘complex’ and how Thomas Jefferson wuz a Rapist.

        They’re so busy trying to rationalize libertarian philosophy and “Social Justice” they hardly ever get around to mundane things like “actual US Government Policies”

    3. He’s correct. It’s wrong to murder, and it’s wrong to pay a contract killer to do the murder for you. The only problem is the non-sequitur used here to suggest that people playing a dangerous sport are being compelled to do so by the viewer. It is not wrong to voluntarily put yourself at great risk of head injuries.

  25. “Inflicting traumatic head injuries on hundreds of people is pretty clearly morally problematic.” No it isn’t. They consented. I don’t even need to comment on this rest of the article because this one premise is so laughably false as to invalidate everything else.

  26. I’m not even much of a football fan, but this article really is ridiculous. The bottom line is that the average professional football player has an order of magnitude better a life than he would probably expect to have absent his football career. A large portion attend college. On scholarship. Then, enter a line of work where the minimum annual salary if they’re second tier (practice squad) is $88,400 and the minimum salary if they make the regular team is $420,000.Afterward, if they don’t earn enough to retire, most have fairly lucrative opportunities in sales, public relations, or any number of other fields available to them. Now, honestly, what exactly do you think the life pattern of these guys would be, on average, without football?

  27. But what of our moral obligations as consumers? Should we refuse to support a venture that leads so predictably to the outcomes described above?

    Are you saying its better to fade away rather than burn out?

    Not just football players, but a lot of people, due to circumstances or personal inclination, would rather have a short but rich one rather than a long and dull one.

    Additionally – to say that consumers have a ‘moral obligation’ here is to give legitimacy to those who claim that people who consume drugs or a prostitute’s services are to blame for *any* harms caused.

  28. While I applaud the writer’s attempt to make us think of the ethics of a spectator sport, I don’t find any compelling reasons for being upset about it. Most high-risk professions pay more money precisely because of the risks involved.

    We should be more concerned about tax-payer funded stadiums and other perks (like tax exemptions) that go with the business side of sports and do as much to encourage the danger of the sport as the spectators do.

    Or we could re-hash the deconstruction of the fictional sport Rollerball again.

  29. While we’re on the subject of football, how about we add in these

    http://www.amazon.com/Powerise…..B002IAQEDC

    and tasers.

    Really – add them to *all* sports. Imagine MMA with these.

    1. What is the sex application for those. Warty?

  30. As a children’s sport, American football is among the safer ones. Way safer than bicycling, for instance. And a hell of a lot of fun.

    1. American Football is the WW1 of sports and WW1 was the worst war ever.

      QED

  31. Now, with everything said above – football was BY FAR my favorite sport to play as a kid. Loved playing football. Loved it. Especially the hitting – defense. But – I was taught to tackle with the head beside the “target”, and engage target with the shoulder. So my head took little abuse (one or two good bell ringers from accidently helmet-to-helmet, broke a couple getting flipped upside down and bouncing off the ground…).

    Anyhoo…what were we talking about? Where am I? WHY ARE YOU ALL LOOKING AT ME??!

    *pulls up pants*

    1. When grandpa does it, its funny when we do it, its indecent exposure.

      1. Well, I’m a grandpa now, so BONUS FOR ME!

    2. Unfortunately we’re going thru a time of a mistake that was supposed to make things better: chest tackling. Youth coaches are finally waking up to the way it does the opposite of desired, putting the head into the target zone.

  32. I have to wonder if Ms. Slade eats commercially caught fish. By the reasoning of this article, she shouldn’t.

    1. I have it on good authority she only eats cruelty-free tofu.

      /no I don’t

      1. There is no such thing. All those poor immigrants getting skin cancer working the fields. Its immoral to eat food.

  33. The lack of alt text should have tipped me off

    *flips off Slade and Reason again*

    1. This ball is not vegan.

    2. What the hell do you have against Slade?

      1. Wasn’t this their biggest hit? (US at least)

        I vaguely recall this from the 1980s

        1. Yep, I actually had the record. Slade was (and is, I guess) a guilty pleasure. Check out their Christmas song sometime.

          1. They sound like they were a ‘bridge’ band squeezed in between glam rock and the later Hair (“Pop-Rock”) Metal.

            Good rock singing voice. Painful to look at.

  34. It may be a good thing if the NFL dies out. It would open the door for genteel sports such as cricket and rugby to assume their rightful place in American society.

    *ducks and flees room*

    1. “It would open the door for genteel sports such as…. rugby”

      Whut

      1. “Football is a gentleman’s game played by ruffians, and rugby is a ruffian’s game played by gentlemen.”

        not to mention:

        “The battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton.” /prob apocryphal

        1. /prob apocryphal

          Apparently Eton had no playing fields at the time and Wellington hated his time there.

          1. Probably the battle of Waterloo was won on the playing-fields of Eton, but the opening battles of all subsequent wars have been lost there.

            George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn, 1941.

  35. The wrong solution, most Reason readers would probably agree, brings to bear the heavy hand of government, attempting to regulate away the danger by mandating a helmet produced by a company located in a senior member of Congress’s district or owned by a major donor or to end the game completely through brute coercive force.

    FTFY, Stephanie Slade.

  36. Flag football? That might solve the problem.

    Some observers outside the US think America’s love for football derives from the nation’s imperialism. Because the game’a objective is advancing into enemy territory (The QB can be thought as the general, and the endzone as the capitol), gaining downs (land), and the only way to stop the guy with the ball is to tackle him.

    I rarely watch football, but when I do, I marvel at how violent it is. I definitely think QBs should wear a flag, and a “sack” should require its removal. If not, then it should be illegal to wrap him around his arms when he’s in the act of throwing. You’re just asking for injuries there.

    1. “Violent ground acquisition games such as football are in fact a crypto-fascist metaphor for nuclear war.”

      1. Therefore, without the outlet of American football, the United States would unleash nuclear horror on the world. As a result, we must continue to prevent them from becoming a soccer power.

    2. High School foorball was created to prepare young men for war. Cheerleaders were created to cheer for those wars. / paraphrasing Chompsky

    3. I don’t really care for imperialism, and most of my football-loving friends and colleagues don’t give a shit about national policy metaphors vis a vis a fucking sport. Personally, my love for the game stems from appreciating the athleticism and tactics, and all the exciting moments that make sports in general fun.

      And why only protect the QB’s? I’m pretty sure receivers getting blasted because the QB overthrows him would object to your suggestion =)

      This article was a steaming pile of shit topping all other anti-football reason crap put together. Please keep railing against the MANY threats to liberty both at home and abroad and leave my sport – the best combination of chess, wrestling, and team play ever devised – the fuck alone.

      1. Yeah, I really don’t know why more women don’t love football. Such an emotional rollercoaster you would think they would be all about it.

        1. Some hate it because it let’s men act like men. Some are jealous. And some,like my wife just don’t understand it no matter how many times you try to explain it.

          1. If they hate it because it lets men act like men, why don’t women go for women’s football more?

    4. Flag football is an interesting sport in its own right, as is touch, but neither is a suitable replacement for tackle. I coach children in tackle football, and I wouldn’t settle for coaching in the flag division of our club.

      1. There’s also various versions of rugby, and even unpadded American football for adults ? http://townbeef.com

  37. I agree. These guys would be better off working in cubicles, like me, for their whole lives. In fact, we should be shaming everybody with balls, as ballsy behavior often leads to injuries and stuff and….. OMFG was this article really on this site!! I’m gonna go outside in this freezing weather now without a hat and have sex with drunk girl just to get the stench of this off me.

    1. Have fun! I shall not go out in the sub zero weather but instead live vicariously through your exploits ARV. At least until Friday night when it gets up above zero.

      1. And no if I really felt like going out I would not let the temps stop me.

  38. Ways to reduce concussions:

    1) As mentioned by posters above, start teaching proper tackling techniques, again.

    2) Bring back bump and run coverage allowing defenders to chuck the receiver until the ball is in the air. This will reduce the speed of the collisions since the players will less likely be at full speed.

    3) Look into the soft-shell helmet. Though, this might encourage even more reckless tackling because the player feels safer.

    4) Place accelerometers in helmets and monitor a player’s accumulated impact. This could eventually be done in real-time to let the player and coach know what risks he’s taking by staying in the game (the players/owners could also collectively bargain an objective standard).

    Other things that won’t be taken seriously:

    5) Get rid of helmets entirely. This will reduce the recklessness of players and the violence of the collisions.

    6) Put in a weight limit, i.e., go back to the days of sub-300 lb. linemen.

    1. The best way to reduce concussions is to not bang your head on stuff or stuff on your head.

    2. The 300 lb lineman aren’t the ones getting or causing most of the concussions. They don’t move fast enough and they’re generally very close to the people they’re hitting. The ones getting concussions are Linebackers, safeties, and running backs. Guys in the 215-280 range that are fast and have enough room to build up a head of steam and go for the kill shot. Think about the “Greatest Hits” highlight reel type hits. Those hits aren’t made by the big uglies.

      1. With 6), I was more arguing for the days when players were generally smaller at all positions. The concussions that are most readily apparent are the ones you describe, but do we have enough long-term CTE data that could tell us cumulative effects for each position? What I described in 4) would help in this regard.

        1. An easy way to cut down on concussions would be to make all players have knee pads and mouth pieces.

          1. Mouthpieces are already mandatory under most major codes; NFL might be an exception.

        2. Those accelerometer-equipped helmets exist too.

    3. #5 has been done by Town Beef. #6 is Sprint Football (formerly lightweight football). Many children’s football leagues also have weight limits (the one I coach in, for instance).

  39. So, I don’t watch football. At all. Ever. Not interested if asked directly. I don’t find football entertaining.

    However, as youth I was raised on karate and street-fighting techniques from a couple of local alley garages where the ‘sensei’ would chop fuckin’ 2×4’s to death with cheap samurai swords to really cool 80’s music. As a forced Pentecostal with anarchist tendencies in the 80’s living in a home in inner city Toledo, Ohio with a hardcore Pentecostal parents I learned to enjoy survival even while the Branhamite cult we were part of added additional pain to my life.

    1. And survive I did. Lots of brutal experiences where I developed my own sense of ethics and philosophy. The streets have ethics. Most choose to reject them. So, I started to study ethics at 12 on. I realized that religion wasn’t a ethics paradigm. Jesus was not ethical. He was a result. He became a lifestyle just like Muhammad for lost souls.

      You ask about the ethics of watching football…

      There are ethics to watching anything. I don’t like MMA fighters who do not exhibit ethics and will break arms or fight to ruin humanity until a greater force can stop them. I don’t like porn where the ethics don’t feel right. And this is from a swinging bdsm type of guy. I don’t like watching humans hurt themselves under the influence and this is from a man who loves being under the influence.

      If football at times seems to be unethical to some of my more sensitive brother and sister libertarians… so be it. I understand.

  40. Is all this controversy due to the fact that the NFL pulls in 10 billion a year? I mean, if we are talking about dangerous sports activities, I think MMA and Boxing, where a concussion is the point, would be better whipping boys for this movement than the NFL.

    1. Wrong. MMA gives way fuckin’ more time between head trauma than the NFL. Christ, this is common knowledge.

      1. I was under the impression it was the accumulation of concussions over time that was the big driver of chronic brain trauma, not time between. You only have a 5-10% chance of receiving a concussion in the NFL in a given season, so I assume that most people aren’t concussed in a given season and aren’t concussed multiple times a year.

        1. MMA plans for head trauma and recurring fights accordingly.

          This is why many fighters often fight only 1-3 fights per year.

          Compare that to the NFL, bub.

          1. I can completely understand this, but the stats are 8.1 concussions per 100 NFL players vs. 15.9 concussions per 100 MMA fighters. That obviously takes into account the 20+ games a season plus practices that the NFL player goes through.

  41. The NFL has taken a profound anti-firearm position, has taxpayer subsidized facilities, and appears to me to either influence or flat out predetermine the outcomes. For these reasons, I’m out.

  42. The one thing that this article leaves out of consideration is weather football might have positive personality effects. All the anicdotal evidence says that it does. Is that worth nothing?

    1. q.v., Ray Lewis, Ray Rice, OJ Simpson, Jevon Belcher, Aaron Hernandez, Junior Seau, and Michael “Ron Mexico” Vick.

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  45. With all this talk about violent sports, and not one mention about hockey.

    Bitches be slipping.

  46. I don’t understand what ethical principle is supposed to be involved here. Are we supposed to boycott anything that involves anybody taking any risks? Is surfing too dangerous too to be watched ethically? What about bicycling? What about walking down the street?

    1. “You wanna know ’bout surfing, you surf. You don’t surf, you don’t know nothin’ ’bout surfing.”

      /The Teachings of Don Redondo to Careless Constipeda

  47. it only unethical if you watch root for the cowboys

  48. “All while its players suffer and die.” 3 out of thousands. That’s what you’ve got?

  49. What a stupid article. I can’t believe I actually read it (well, kind of). Is Watching Football Unethical? Not any more than watching any of the other mindless drivel that is on TV these days. Especially the “reality” tv shows. People CHOOSE

    1. PEOPLE CHOOSE to play and/or watch football. The key word is choice. Personally, I don’t think football is going to die as some posters suggest. Like baseball, it’s going to decline somewhat in popularity as there are so many other choices for entertainment. And, less younger players are playing football. But, less younger players are playing many sports these days as we continue to “specialize” at a younger age, and there are so many more sports to choose from. Ugh. Why am I bothering to even comment on this blather. I typically enjoy reading articles on Reason, and have never felt like one was so stupid and disagreeable as to make me want to comment. Until now..

  50. Watching football is unethical, but not because of the concussions.

    Pro sports is a propaganda arm of progressives. They churn out narratives repeatedly. Its not merely circus, its dogma and cultural signaling.

    Kobe Bryant being ‘fined’ by his employer for calling someone a faggot = censorship (and de facto theft since they have a monopoly).

    Rush Limbaugh not being allowed to buy a team = monopoly protectionism and punishing ppl for political views.

    Player defends himself from an angry bitch fiance who aggresses him = man at fault/fired/shamed, woman not arrested even tho evidence is available.

    Sports teams shaft taxpayers to build their stadiums.

    I have no love for the sport of football and I don’t understand zealous fandom (although that is others prerogative), but in recent years I’ve developed an absolute hatred for the leagues.

    I think in general sports fandom is inversely correlated to intelligence. Vicarious success lived through strangers doesn’t make a lot of logical sense. Groupthink and shared experience appeals most powerfully to collectivists and those with painfully unmet social needs.

    1. At the end of the day stupid ppl should have liberty too. It’s not the sport that is evil, its the establishment leagues. College sports is another protected racket where labor is legally controlled so a monopoly can harvest them. The purity of the sports also takes a hit when the entertainment producers realize they can keep manipulation under the radar. This is a form of fraud.

      I wonder if the gladiator system of Rome was more rigged.

  51. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for 74 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail
    ————— http://www.paygazette.com

  52. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ?????? http://www.jobsfish.com

  53. til I looked at the bank draft 4 $7692 , I didn’t believe …that…my brothers friend woz like they say realy bringing in money in their spare time from there new laptop. . there neighbor has been doing this for under thirteen months and a short time ago paid for the loans on their appartment and purchased a new Honda . visit their website…

    http://www.Jobs-spot.com

  54. Injury-Reducing Rule Changes

    1. After a failure to convert on fourth down (i.e., to get enough yardage for a first down), the team taking possession should be bumped back by at least 10 yards (more, the closer the line of scrimmage is to the new defender’s end zone). This would encourage “going for first down” on fourth down, thereby reducing the number of punts. Tackles during punt returns are more likely to result in concussions, because they are head-on, high-speed collisions. (Fans like “going for it” on 4th down, so this would be popular.)

    2. Fumbles after contact should be penalized by being “downed” five yards (say) behind the point where they hit the turf. They would no longer be up for grabs by the opposing team. This would discourage “concussive” tackling that attempts to dislodge the ball. It would also eliminate the dangerous scramble for possession after the fumble.

    3. Loss of possession by a pass receiver shouldn’t count as a fumble during the first half-second (or maybe more). (Same rationale as #2.)

    4. A pass receiver shouldn’t have to maintain control of the ball after contact with the ground. (Ditto.)

    5. Spot the ball closer to the sidelines when the center of the field is very muddy.

    6. Allow the team in possession to run out the clock at the end of halftimes “by forfeit,” to avoid meaningless plays in which injuries can occur.

  55. players have suffered so much and they are more likely to be diagnosed with diseases than any other person.

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