Are You a Conflicted Football Fan?

Email a Friend
Aerial view of MetLife Stadium

Peter Beinart's essay in The Atlantic explores his moral conflict between his love of watching football with his young son and the inherent violence of the game. As you make plans to watch the Super Bowl this weekend, are you conflicted between your enjoyment of watching the game and teaching your kids to love it too, despite the violence? Do you worry about the message you're sending to your kids when you cheer every time a player on the opposing team gets hit?

Heartbroken football fans flooded the lines. One listener who had played and coached for 25 years even said sometimes when he sits down to watch a game on Sundays he just cries.

Callers said they talk about the dangers of the sport when they watch games with their kids. Daniel in Queens said he doesn't even know what else he’d do on Sundays if he didn't watch football. But: “I’m completely conflicted. I’m a huge football fan. My son is just turning 5 years old and I love the game. And I've talked to my fiancé about it and we made the decision that we probably would not let him play,” he said.

“You used to watch football back in the day and you’d see the 1 o’clock game, the 4 o’clock game, the nighttime game, Monday night football game…and throughout all of those games, you may see one guy get knocked out of a game, now you see it multiple times in each game you watch. Like every four plays somebody’s getting knocked out of the game. The guys are so much stronger and faster now. And obviously everything’s been coming up about CTE and I've just gotten to the point that I don’t think that I would let my son play, at least according to the things I've heard from doctors, not before the age of 14.”

Lev in Brooklyn was a lifelong Jets fan who said the news of the traumatic brain injuries forced him to give up watching the game. “Everybody who says they’re conflicted is just ignoring the evidence. The facts are in. This game messes you up really bad.”

To add to the conversation, leave a comment below.