boycott or watch?


I’m conflicted over this. Usually this time of year I’m getting excited about the beginning of football. But last year I said I was going to consider boycotting it due to the injuries (including death) the players suffer from.  The main injury that made me consider not watching football is learning about chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). I’m having a hard time enjoying a sport I know people will later regret playing when they can no longer talk/walk or they are so depressed they kill themselves. Of course I should stop watching football. But part of me wants to be a hypocrite and say “Fuck it!  I like football. It is one of the things that makes winter bearable and I’m going to watch it”.

What do I do? Yes this is a real conflict for me. College football starts soon. By watching it, I know I’m doing something not aligned with my beliefs. However, selfishly I want to spend my weekends watching football because I’ve been arranging my schedule around football for the past decade. It’s what I do. It’s ME.

There’s also a part of me that wants to let football go because then I don’t have to arrange my schedule by it. It is one less hobby to have. I can still watch other sports like basketball. If I don’t watch football, trust me I will know every college and pro basketball player on the court by first and last name. (I can’t watch both sports religiously and still live).

Right now I’m leaning towards boycotting. It’s gonna suck. Ugh, I can’t do that…can I? I don’t want to start NOT watching and then start watching mid-season. I fear that is what will happen. I hate winter and I need something. I don’t know. Sports bring me joy. I love football.

I know the right thing to do. Sigh. I want to believe the NFL is really doing something about the concussion issue but I don’t trust them. Why should I? They knowingly let this go on for decades. And then once the players are retired some of them can’t get help from the NFL. For example, they don’t consider dementia a football related disease so one player has to come up with $65,000 a year to live in assisted living. His pension from the NFL is only $925 a month. What? The NFL can’t afford it??? It disgusts me.

Some of these players playing right now, will suffer so much from playing football. If they only knew for sure. If they knew what it really felt like. Sure some of them would still play for the money, fame, or even love of the game. But what would their decision be if they really knew what their life would be like in 10 years? No one is going to convince me that they want to not be able to walk and talk. They just don’t think it will happen to them. Brain damage is serious. It is worth watching people destroy their lives?

My favorite team happens to be the Baltimore Ravens. (I’m from Baltimore. I don’t live there now). They’ve done a ton of damage to other players and needless to say Ray Lewis is/was my favorite football player. Spare me the murder comments please. Of course I know everything about that. Anyhow, I imagine how I would feel if it were him who committed suicide. What if he gets chronic traumatic encephalopathy? I would feel horrible for watching him play over all these years. (side note: It bothers me that Ray is supporting his son playing football. Does he think all this stuff is made up? He is a smart guy yet he is ignoring all the bad parts of football. A lot of former players say they WOULD NOT let their kids play football. Unfortunately Ray isn’t one of them.)

I don’t know if I can watch a sport that can lead people into depression and CTE. Is it worth it? Should I just forget everything I know and enjoy the sport? Can I do that? Sadly the answer is probably yes. I don’t think I will ever look at it the same way again after learning so much about CTE.  I’m just one person. I know my actions mean nothing. However I do have a conscience. Like I stated earlier, I know the right thing to do but it still makes me incredibly sad. Not to be dramatic or anything but it’s like saying goodbye to a part of my life. And I hate that people will be talking about great plays or great games and I will have no clue what they are talking about.

After all this, a part of me is still considering watching it. I know it doesn’t make sense. That is why I’m conflicted. I hope I say no to football.

Here is one story on CTE and football (there are several)

The tragedy of CTE: a brain disease that afflicts athletes


(This is just my conflict over watching football. I’m not at all trying to change anyone’s mind).

2 thoughts on “boycott or watch?

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