27 November 2010

Violence and Football

In response to the recent post on violence, the question was raised: If violence and being entertained by violence is wrong, then what about football?

I need to be careful with my bias here because I like football. I will offer my thoughts with an effort to be balanced but I hope if nothing else to stir us on to be more discerning with everything we watch, read, and do.

When a player doesn't get up after a play in football, people don't cheer. We don't want players getting hurt. When the same thing happens in boxing or mixed martial arts, people cheer. The very goal of such sports is the destruction of your opponent's body. This is where violence against another human is fundamentally wrong. God, being the Creator, is owner of all things and all people (Ps. 24:1, Exo. 19:5, Job 41:11, etc.). What's worse is that as humans we bear the image of God. That body belongs to God and we offend Him when we mess with His stuff.

Since the goal in football is to put the ball in the endzone and not to destroy players' bodies, I think football is different. To the contrary, I believe God is glorified in fine-tuned bodies and cooperating teammates that can place a pass in the perfect spot at the perfect time. That's what I'm entertained by, and I think it is good.

I realize this gets real sticky when we start thinking about the likelihood of players getting hurt in football. If all this is true, can a player in good conscience take the field and play aggressively knowing that he might accidentally injure someone? I think there is something to be said for the consent each player gives when taking the field. Each player goes in knowing he might get hurt. Still I don't know how to work this out exactly. Maybe Reggie White did.


Josh said...

Fans cheer violence in football. ESPN used to have a segment called Jacked Up, where they would show the biggest hits and how awesome they are. Concussions are more frequent in football than mixed martial arts.

The long-term health impacts of football is a big issue right now. Multiple concussions are regular for football players.

I agree that the goal of the game is to put the ball in the end-zone, but violence seems to be a huge by-product.

Jordan said...

I didn't realize the stats on concussions. I have noticed the NFL attempt to crack down on this stuff with penalties and fines for helmet to helmet contact. So what do you really think about football? If you had a son would you encourage him to play?