Sunday, February 14, 2016

A Different Perspective on Football

I have to give columnist, author and football fans Gregg Easterbrook credit; when it comes to writing about football he brings a different perspective to the game. He avoids the clich├ęs of being a drooling, face painted fanboy or a moronic, shouting sports talkshow host’s mind numbed blather; instead he delivers an at times well-considered, almost intellectual approach to delivering his thoughts on the game.

While in his prior book, The King of Sports, Easterbrook reasoned that the game and the NFL was in need of reform, his latest outing, The Game’s Not Over – In Defense of Football, his premise appears to be that the game and the league are on the right track and he is coming to the defense. And it is that that point that the premise goes off the rails.

He offers up reasoning for saving the NFL and the game itself, from the issues it faces; issues that in many instances the NFL has either created or brought on itself. Easterbrook makes an interesting case that the NFL is merely a microcosm of the world it inhabits, turning a mirror on it merely reflects what is going on in society.

Easterbrook’s claim that the NFL is the recipient of what amounts to public financed corporate welfare falls apart quickly. His ridiculous comparison between the 2008 Obama campaign paying the city of Chicago for the costs of renting Grant park for its victory celebration and attendant police costs, while the NFL negotiated a rent free, cost free use of the same park for the NFL draft a few years later as some sort of a corporate shake down. The simple fact is no one forced Chicago to agree to the deal, they could have just as easily said no and watched the NFL take their traveling circus to another locale and all of the millions of dollars of revenue to restaurants, hotels, bars, retail, etc, etc, with it. Chicago wanted that economic impact and it was willing to make the investment to get it. I have major doubts that anyone can place a similar economic impact on an Obama campaign event.

The same is true for those municipalities that pony up HUGE money to build monolithic stadiums for NFL teams to play in. The simple fact is there are currently 32 NFL franchises and likely upwards of 50 or more cities that would be willing to vie for a team and shell out the dollars needed to build an even bigger and better, and by that I mean lucrative to the franchise owner, stadium on the taxpayer dime.

The same holds true for the concussion argument. Does anybody really not know the risks involves in playing a high impact sport and the consequences it has for the human body? Oh and those elite athletes skilled enough to play at that level receive compensation that meets or exceeds the inherent danger. Sorry hard for me to feel sorry when you knew the risks going in.

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