Will football one day disappear?

YFO All-Star Tre Darden

“Football is a moral abomination..” says Malcolm Gladwell, a best-selling author and writer for the New York Times.  He continues on to say the NFL is “socializing young men into a culture of violence”.  Mr. Gladwell believes football will at some point just “wither on the vine”. Strong words from this opinionated writer whom often says outrageous things. His statements were based on a recent study that states 3 out 10 NFLers will develop brain related health issues in their lifetime.

See the interview here:

Future NBA hall of famer LeBron James recently said that he would not allow his young kids to play football, claiming the game is too dangerous. In LeBron’s case not to involve his kids in football is his choice as a parent, I respect his decision, however I think it’s important to note that horrific injuries can occur in any sport (including basketball).

Unfortunately, there are many that are still naive to the fact that football rules are evolving, also technology is carving a path to a safer game. The wild west culture that was once prevalent in the NFL, is getting cleaned up, albeit at a slow pace. Nasty hits/ leading with the crown of the helmet hits are slowly being petered out as athletes realize a hit to the wallet isn’t worth it.

Concurrently, the rule changes favoring safety at the youth football level have been well received, and that is where it all begins.

Mr. Gladwell, my guess is that you have never played or been involved in the sport, I would suggest you attend a high school game, and notice the environment. If you’re against football then you’re against community. That is to say deep rooted connections within a community, which are formed at the football field would vanish without this awesome sport. Examples of these connections include- teammate to teammate, coach to coach, player to coach, parent to child, grandparent to child. And the list goes on. Life lessons are enforced, they include toughness, discipline, practice of learning and comprehension.

Playing football is for elite kid athletes, see our YFO All-Stars.

In my life I seek out ‘football people’ because I consider these people to be fine individuals in our society. They’re not violent, but instead quite the opposite- kind, respectful and considerate. They’re family orientated. Definitely not the violent monsters that individuals like Malcolm Gladwell assume them to be. When looking at the Ray Rice incident, horrific instances- such as physical assault against women- happens everyday in society. It is not specifically because Ray Rice is a football player that he assaulted his then girlfriend. There is an underlying issue that Mr. Rice needs to understand and rehabilitate from.

Critics of football, specifically youth football should stop and understand that character is being cultivated on the football field. It is in the dirt, alongside teammates fighting to achieve a common goal where valuable life lessons are translated. It’s here that strength is being developed.

To answer the question- no, football is not going away. Ever.

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