Back in 2011, I wrote a blogpost about SuperBowl and Bread and Circus. At the time, I was focused on the food industry and all the junky edible food-like substances that are marketed to the public during this show. Since then, I guess you could say I’ve traveled even deeper into the rabbit hole. Here are five more reasons why I don’t watch the NFL spectacle.
CONCUSSIONS You don’t have to be a neurologist to understand that getting your head banged around week after week can set you up for a lifetime of problems. The NFL has been accused of covering up what it knew about the link between playing professional football and the degenerative brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. Helmets protect from skull fracture but not concussions. Studies show that football can alter the brains of kids as young as 8, it makes you wonder if our kids should be playing this game.
The NFL and the Military Industrial Complex Did you know that the Department of Defense pays out millions of dollars to the NFL for what’s known as “paid patriotism,” in which tributes to the troops were carried out at sporting events in exchange for money. The efforts ranged from members of the military singing the national anthem to fighter jets flying overhead. I’m not comfy with a violent sport celebrating militarism at tax payers expense. I’ll let John Oliver explain it:
Sports Stadiums are built on the backs of tax payers Billions of taxpayers’ hard-earned money is spent on the public financing of NFL stadiums. Although fans have picked up most of the tab for the overwhelming majority of football stadiums, they get exploited by teams and are subjected to outrageous high ticket prices, along with unfair practices that restrict the purchase, sale and transfer of tickets.
Couch potato culture It’s become obvious that sitting is the new smoking. Our lack of movement is bad for our health. Thanks to the explosive increase in screens, we’ve become spectators instead of participators. With the new regime in the White House, now more than ever, we must get up off the couch and into the streets. Democracy is not a spectator sport! We need to show up, face to face, in order to make sure our elected officials are doing what we want them to.
The cult of celebrity. Journalist Chris Hedges first tipped me off to this concept with his book, Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle. He wrote about the damaging impact of celebrity culture long before the reality TV star, who will remain nameless, became POTUS. While I might respect Lady Gaga as a creative artist, we must beware of putting celebrities up on a pedestal for any reason.
Instead of football, spend some time outside. Try some forest bathing, also known as Shinrin-yoku, a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine. Visit a tree and spend some time in it’s grounded silent presence. Feel that stillness and calm.
There is more to life than football.