I didn’t have any fun doing it, but I wrote up a quick column on why I think its imperative that we (particularly faculty members) stop supporting college football:
Some quick, additional thoughts:
- I really do believe the game can be salvaged. It looked different 75 years ago and people liked it. People across the world, particularly in Australia and Ireland, have non-brain damaging versions of football that are wildly popular. I’m not saying American football should look like those, but I think there’s a sport to be cultivated that preserves college football’s feel but doesn’t succumb to the dark irony I describe in the op-ed.
- While I am very uncomfortable with the NFL, the argument I put forth only partially applies to it. The NFL does not promise to educate and cultivate human beings; universities do. So, there’s a massive labor rights and safety issue for the NFL, for sure. And you have to decide if you are ok with supporting gladitorial combat that maims many of the competitors, but it’s mostly a separate issue. The extent to which it is not would seem to derive from the NFL’s use of college football as a job training program, but there’s nothing forcing universities to accept this role.
- I have very little idea the extent to which other faculty agree with me. To my mind, to disagree you have to deny one of two principles. Either a. you deny that football causes brain damage or b. you deny my assertion that that an educational institution should endorse no activity known to cause brain damage. That said, I’m not a logician and maybe I’ve missed something.