Concussion deniers

Now I’ve heard everything. Feminazis are trying to ruin football! And childhood! And apple pie!

In the wake of the NFL settlement, a number of pundits have come out to defend the NFL and its $9 billion annual business. Some deny that there’s a problem. Others have attacked the messenger, or the former players themselves.

Writing at TownhallTimothy Birdnow claimed that destroying the NFL is “the left’s end-game.” After scoffing that there’s “no solid evidence that the game is dangerous,” Birdnow blamed the “liberal sports media” for wanting to over-regulate the game – and for ruining childhood in the process.

There has been an increasing effort by the Progressives to straitjacket young children. Sports are one outlet they have targeted, with an increasingly regimented and organized approach to what were once thought of as children’s games.  Michelle Obama may say “Let’s Move!,” but she wants all movement under her watchful eye.

While Birdnow may write from the fringes, a similar theory has gained traction among some mainstream conservatives — Rush Limbaugh also wondered recently if “the left” was intent on “banning football as we know it.”

And NewBusters founder Matthew Sheffield agreed that the “liberal media” poses a genuine threat,writing that while “it’s difficult to imagine Americans going along with government outright banning football,” he could easily see “”compassionate’ liberals and trial lawyers gradually destroying the sport through excessive regulation, government intervention and lawsuits.”

While it may seem unclear why anyone would want to destroy football, running underneath these complaints is an established narrative about the supposed “feminization” of American culture that people like Limbaugh have long embraced. Jeff Blevins, author of Confessions of a Mad Sports Addict, was explicit about this angle, writing, “I like to call it the feminization of the league. Emasculation is another good” way to put it.

In less ideologically strident circles, one finds narratives that, while somewhat milder, are also notably devoid of compassion.

While Dave Zirin rightly called the NFL settlement a “rotten deal,” likening it to the kind of slap on the wrist Wall Street firms are used to paying to settle SEC suits (the injured players will get a payout of about $150,000, on average), CBS’ sportswriter Pete Prisco called the retirees’ lawsuit “a money grab,” adding: “I don’t think they deserve it.” For Prisco, “there is no proof that the hits in the NFL are what caused any problems” anyway.

Matt Taibbi also did a devastating piece for Rolling Stone last year.

Also: This Is Your Brain On Football.

One thought on “Concussion deniers

  1. I played for awhile. So did my boys, for awhile over my objections. Concussions are not the only traumatic injuries. Broken necks, fractured vertebrae, broken bones, torn ligaments, dislocated joints. It only takes one bad game or practice to take the fun out. Players have gotten so big (300+ pound players . . . in high school), moving so fast that the collisions have become incredibly violent. Unfortunately, like the military, the 1% have left nothing else for some kids to make their way out of poverty.

Comments are closed.