Ethical Reflection Upon Violence in American Football

My friend Tony Reinke invited me, along with a number of others, to give some brief thoughts on this issue. Considering what is coming to light regarding the long-term effects of collisions in the game upon the brains of its players, are supporters morally complicit? See the various viewpoints here.

About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
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6 Responses to Ethical Reflection Upon Violence in American Football

  1. CW says:

    I am convinced that sport as cult and liturgy is a much greater problem than the brain damage issue. It may be that the heads of participants is one of the sacrifices that the gods demand, but it certainly isn’t the only one.

    • I agree. The problems with modern sports culture run so much deeper than concerns about the well-being of athletes.

      • CW says:

        I don’t know much about the football culture in Europe (I am but an ignorant American) but the culture surrounding American football seems especially egregious. There is the building anticipation, the degree of pagentry surrounding games, and then the dominance of Sunday – as though declaring its rivalry with traditional sabbatarians. I know many people for whom this is the most important liturgy of their life during the season. Making sure they are in the couch when the game starts is paramount. And the offseason is a time of anticipation. Indeed, 10-years ago that was me.

      • It is every bit as bad here.

      • CW says:

        I wonder to what degree there is a deep unease or even diagust with the role of spectator sport in the public life of our nations and the private life of our fellow Christians, but our moral vocabulary is so stunted that we can only voice it along a care/harm axis?

        We focus on the exploitation of college athletes, the use of performance enhancing drugs and their effect on athletes and the youths who emulate them, and the physical and mental damage of contact sports; when we have much deeper concerns about theinsidious way that sports undermine or coopt our corporate identities, or reveal the lack of meaningful social structures available.

      • I am not sure that there is a very heightened sense of unease among Christians on these issues.

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