NEWS BLOG (WSAU) As another football season begins, there are some strange predictions about the sport’s future. Columnist George Will writes that the human body cannot safely compete in the modern NFL. Cases of brain damage and chronic injuries among football players will be little different than boxers. (Read it here: http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/will080412.php3 )
Rush Limbaugh also predicts that football will eventually be ruled too violent, too unsafe, and at some point will no longer be played as it is today. What? No kickoff returns? Flag football?
Carry this thinking through, and you can imagine the flash-points. Former players are already suing the NFL, claiming the league knew more about the risks of concussions and head injuries than it let on. Will college football change if players who never made the pros begin suing their alma maters? Some of those are big state schools… would taxpayers be on the hook for big-money jury awards? Will high schools be able to get reasonably priced insurance for their athletic programs? Will risk-averse school boards reevaluate whether they should have a football program? Will the sport become politically incorrect?
I think all of this talk is premature.
Violence is never something the American public has shied away from. Look at our movies. Look at the popularity of cage-fighting and wrestling, which has surpassed also-violent prizefighting. Look at how proudy mothers wear the picture-buttons of their high school football sons. NFL ratings and league revenue have never been higher. Too violent? Doomed to fail? Will today’s NFL be the-way-it used-to-be? It’s too soon to say.