I have mentioned The Sun Magazine before; I am a first-time subscriber and longtime fan. Here in San Francisco, Super Bowl celebrations, parties, and festivities are planned over the next few weeks. I started reading this article, and these startling statistics remind me how important it is to teach and cultivate caring over competition.
I mentioned a line from a Carl Sandburg poem today to a CCSF professor and longtime activist:
“The Church Of The Gridiron: Steve Almond On How He Lost His Faith In Football,” by David Cook http://t.co/fgxumhzHzC
— The Sun magazine (@TheSunMagazine) September 9, 2015
In the fall of 2014 the NFL admitted that 30 percent of its players — nearly one in three — will suffer “long-term cognitive ailments,” and that they are likely to develop such problems at “notably younger ages” than the average American. That means that if there are 1,700 active nfl players at any given time, about 500 will end up with permanent cognitive disabilities. And when we watch football, we’re not only ok with that: we pay good money to watch it happen.
That’s the first moral issue a football fan has to ignore, and the folks who serve up football make it easy to do. The helmets and uniforms and pads the players wear not only protect but dehumanize them. They look almost like robots. Most of the time we don’t see their faces. We never have to look at the dazed eyes of a player who’s just suffered a brain injury. For the most part any player who’s seriously injured gets swept out of sight, and we don’t see him until he’s ready to play again. In this sense football is just a reflection of a broader American mentality: when something becomes too upsetting, it’s shuttled out of view, whether it’s the body of a soldier returning from Iraq or a mentally ill homeless person who finds his or her way into a wealthy neighborhood. They are all made to disappear.
From an interview with Steve Almond, men´s advocate, in The Sun, September 2015. (I do believe some of the NFL´s players may have been women, though. True? No?)