Liberal jargon update: The NFL will now be referred to as the “Football Industrial Complex.”
With pro and college football set to kick off this week, the official Season of Rationalization is upon us again. This is that special time of year when millions upon millions of fans attempt to justify — to themselves and anyone who dares question them — why they watch a violent, commercialized sport that we now know can cause brain damage.
I know this firsthand because until recently I was a football addict. (Technically I’m still an addict, I just no longer use.) And thus I have spent years trotting out these shopworn justifications.
The sad truth is that they’re nonsense. Not one of them stands up to any sort of sustained ethical scrutiny. So allow me to channel my inner defensive fan, if only to set the record straight about how the Football Industrial Complex actually operates. [...]
But the bottom line is that the NFL is the force driving the commercialization of the sport at all levels. It derives most of its profits from passive consumption (i.e., couch potatoes like you and me). We’re the reason the NFL can charge the networks billions for broadcast rights.
To reiterate: Without us, the NFL wouldn’t exist.
This is the essential truth that the Football Industrial Complex is forever trying to obscure. When we watch football, even casually, we’re supporting the entire system. If we don’t like the way football operates — the excessive violence, the greed, the dulling of our collective empathy — it is upon us to stop watching.
As a lifelong fan, I don’t say this casually. I’ve been in continuous state of withdrawal since I stopped watching last year. But I’d rather suffer that inconvenience than continue recycling the same lame excuses every season, knowing deep down how full of shit I’m being.