Is it wrong to watch football?
via AP

Is it wrong to watch football?

Join the conversation and vote below

Football is America's favorite sport—but Monday night's NFL game made some spectators uncomfortable with the brutality of the injuries suffered. Also, new studies show that playing in the NFL puts athletes at extreme risk of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease caused by repeated blows to the head. But others argue that players know the risks—their bodies, their choice. They're paid millions, and fans shouldn't feel guilty for watching. What do you think? 🏈

The Votes Are In!

Ian Crouch questions whether the game should even be allowed to continue in its current form.

"Football fans have been forced to confront something that we already knew from plain sight: the sport is dangerous for the people who play it—for their joints, and bones, and muscles, and, especially, for their brains....Is it O.K. to watch, and take intense pleasure from, a game that is so hazardous to its players?"  

Chuck Klosterman, on the other hand, thinks there is no ethical dilemma here. Boxing is violent, too. Athletes are aware of and accept the dangers of their chosen sports.

Any adult involved with football is aware of the risks associated with playing a collision sport. We might have been able to make a different argument in 1975, but not today....
Football is a brutal activity. But this is a known, accepted reality. Professional athletes accept this risk in exchange for the chance at large financial reward and the right to pursue a rarefied livelihood they love and desire. 

 Steve Almond has quit watching football, and thinks you should too.

Consuming as a form of entertainment a game that causes human beings to suffer brain damage is wrong. It would be convenient to ignore this fact or rationalize it away. It would also be immoral.

Sports writer Kevin Trahan says football is so deeply entrenched in American culture that there's no way he or the vast majority of fans will stop watching.

Still, the facts about NFL players' brain trauma and drastically reduced life expectancy (combined with the league's efforts to suppress the truth) are causing some fans to turn away.

Malcolm Gladwell argues there is no way to subtract violence and trauma from the game, and that as long as people are willing to watch, players will continue to play.

“Can you point to another industry in America that in the course of doing business, maims one-third of its employees (for life)?” 

But many say the millions NFL players are paid, and fans shouldn't feel guilty for watching. Lots of professions are dangerous.

Players are highly compensated for putting themselves at risk....Yes football is dangerous, everyone knows that – that’s why we pay them the big bucks. 
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