Is it unethical to be an NFL fan?

Via Waylon Lewis
on Apr 3, 2012
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Football Fans Can’t Help Loving a Game that Sacrifices its Heroes.

Watch this. The whole thing.

Naked football, raw, mic’d, real, heroic—it’s like watching the Iliad, all our time-honored legends come to life:

“Matthew Stafford ( Mic’d Up )

Matthew Stafford threw for 422 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie in an epic win vs the Cleveland Browns. Returning to the game after suffering an injury to his non-throwing shoulder to throw the game-winning touchdown. The moment he arrived…”

The Sunday New York Times, and Malcolm Gladwell, and many of us have wondered if being a football fan is immoral.

“…Malcolm Gladwell wrote that lesser head injuries (too slight to diagnose in the moment but repeated perhaps dozens of times in a single practice) can be just as harmful. And unlike some of the more spectacularly dangerous plays, like helmet-to-helmet hits, the collisions that create these subconcussive impacts are an essential part of the game. It can’t be played without them.

Gladwell is a huge football fan…”

Same question goes for sponsors and fans or rock climbers, or adventurers generally.


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


6 Responses to “Is it unethical to be an NFL fan?”

  1. Daytrader says:

    I don't think it's unethical to root for the kind of toughness that you don't see much of anymore. The bigger question is, is it unethical to support an activity where people are paid to win? When money is involved, that changes everything.

  2. iheartmyyogi says:

    Nah remember this is sport and sport is a job – people should be paid for their job. The only person that should have ethical worries when it comes to that are the people getting paid – do they really need millions of $$$ for something? Or is that the compensation they deserve for putting themselves (willingly) in harms way to give us entertainment (which sport is).

  3. GeoffOfOz says:

    If we accept that it is ethical to pay people for our entertainment, to whom does the responsibility rest if people voluntarily enter in to this sport/professional dance troupe if they get injured? Is it shared? and to what extent?

    Also, the footage of sports is worth billions if not trillions of dollars internationally. Without the players there would be no product, thus do the players deserve the lions share of this sum?

    As to the original question, is it ethical to be violent contact sport fan (I am in Oz where the rugby codes and AFL are the major contact codes)? I sure hope not.

    I love the positive attributes sport can, at its best, promote.

    Can it also promote excessive and negative competitiveness, greed, mysogyny, arrogance, and so on? Once the emphasis goes away from enjoying the activity for its own sake (e.g. mindful engagement/flow) and towards goals that rely on particular outcomes (i.e. winning, fame, girls, prestige respect, status, honour, etc), and we attach our identity to it, then yes I believe it can. we often do anything to protect our sense of identity.

    I have often had these discussions with people who have had an early negative experience with sport, usually through a dipshit sport teacher at school who has belittled them in order to "toughen them up". Unfortunately they then develop a serious aversion, if not outright aggression towards sport for the negative reasons outlined above. On the whole I believe sport has a net positive effect on society, especially at community level, but it is not without its problems

  4. hkoren says:

    I don't understand this logic. I think it's more ethical that NFL players get paid very well to have their bodies and brains run through a meat grinder, than it is for the NCAA, where there is a massive amount of money involved that goes to everybody but the players. How is it ethical to expect people to put their health on the line and sacrifice themselves strictly for the 'love of the game'?

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  6. Bruce says:

    I agree with this statement and admire that it is an unethical job. Many lives are come to end and many got injured due to some accident with NFL fan. NFL is friendly but if any problem takes in it it proved very costly. But it is not unethical according to my point of view. Like two side of a coin it is also has both beneficial and harmful effect.