Legalism is a rigid rule put in place to do or not do something. It is a line drawn that nobody crosses. Legalism is more than that, but it is at least that. I have no personal struggle with anyone who watches football, and it would be misguided on my part to expect anyone to embrace my preferences.
Messenger For a large swath of Americans, fall means football.
Most notable of these has been the Colin Kaepernick case. Kaepernick has accused the NFL of colluding to keep him off the field because of his protests against police brutality and racial inequality during the playing of the national anthem. A recent ruling has granted him a full hearing in the dispute.
Scientific findings have shown that regular practice of football increases the risk of brain diseases. Allegations regarding the intrinsic violent nature of the game and an increasing commercialization of the sport have been the subject of recent headlines as well.
For fans who consider the sport from an ethical perspective, all these issues raise a question: Is watching football morally problematic? Football injuries At its core, football demands skill and tactical acumen.
Indeed, as philosopher Alexis C. Anyone who has tried to match such performances must admire them.
Repetitive brain trauma makes football players highly vulnerable to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a neurogenerative disease. A study found that 99 percent of deceased NFL players who had donated their brains to scientific research suffered from this disease. The risk of injuries for football players is comparatively higher.
A study of the injury rates among high school student-athletes estimated that the injury rate for football was twice that of soccer or basketball.
Culture of violence? Aimed at satirizing the violent character of the Gulf War, Pinter portrays war and football as being intimately connected.
As scholars who study the ethics of sport , we would argue that while football does require the use of bodily force, it is not that football is inherently violent.
Furthermore, far from being ideologically neutral, some commentators argue football appeals to conservative values. More about money?
As for its commercialization, consider the following: In the last decade, the NFL has raked in billions in lucrative broadcasting rights deals.
It is true, as philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre contends, social practices need institutions to flourish.
In turn, institutions require financial resources to accomplish that goal. The problem, however, comes when institutions pursue those resources at the expense of the very virtues and values that define those practices.
In the case of football, it could be argued that the form and skills that make it appealing are now a model for revenue generation. In doing so, its inherent virtues and values have been deemphasized, in favor of market values.
Professional football has always been about money. Indeed, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell admitted that the league worried about the impact of commercials in the flow and pace of the game.
What are the ethics? It could be argued that football fans learn to speak and shape their national identity by, among other things, engaging in the sport. Football, in other words, embodies and reveals the main values of the culture, playing a key role in shaping the way in which Americans imagine their common national identity.
Considering all the morally problematic aspects surrounding football, it is worth asking: Is this the kind of social practice around which Americans should imagine and build their national identity? We would welcome your suggestions.
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