Monday, October 12, 2009

Football, Dog Fighting, and Brain Damage

Malcolm Gladwell does what he does best: takes supposedly random cultural events and finds the connection. Seemingly beginning from the Michael Vick story, Gladwell wonders if professional football just as morally unacceptable as forcing dogs to injure and kill themselves for sport and financial profit. Both involve structured violence; both involve rabid fans; both involve serious physical consequences to the players involved. Yet one is morally reprehensible and one is publicly celebrated. Perhaps it has to do with freedom of choice; the dogs seem to be bred and forced to fight. But what about the kids and teens who have football practices every day, pressured by their parents and culture to push themselves harder in the name of personal success? Gladwell points out that stock-car racing is also quite dangerous, but has responded with better safety regulations. Is football more like stock-car racing or dogfighting? I don't have an answer, but it's something to ponder.

(ht to kottke)

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