I had a one-hour drive home from dinner last night, and I made the mistake of turning on NPR. The show was called “Intelligence2“, and promised to be an “Oxford-style debate”. The topic of last night’s show? When I heard the title my Circle of Willis burst like a caterpillar in a microwave: “Should College Football Be Banned?“.
Umm, no. And fuck you.
On the pro-ban side was someone who should know better — Buzz Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights and several other sports books. He was joined by Malcolm Gladwell, from the New Yorker. On the side of the angels were gormer Atlanta Falcons defensive end Tim Green and FoxSports’s Jason Whitlock.
Of the two anti-freedom people, I guess Gladwell was at least somewhat cogent. He pointed out that football players take serious hits that risk damaging their brains. He also referred to the deaths of Junior Seau, Dave Duerson, and Ray Easterling, as well as the recent suit by 200o-odd ex-NFL players who claim brain damage.
Bissinger was just embarrassing. He spewed the type of anti-Capitalistic screed you expect from NPR: “The coaches are paid too much! The poor, innocent students are exploited! People should focus on school, not sports!”. He was whiny, shouty, and generally a screaming douche.
If I were responding, it would have looked like this:
But the guys who were against the proposal took the high road, and made a more mature response. They pointed out (remarkably calmly) that we’re a free country, we have a capitalist economy, that the football programs contribute to the colleges, and that the brain damage story was based on rumor and anecdote instead of scientific studies.
The thing that pissed me off, though, was that the basic premise was that it would be OK for “us” to ban a college sport because we don’t like it. We’ve become a nation of busybodies, so focused on getting into everyone else’s business at the cost of their — and our own — personal freedom. The totalitarian nanny douchebaggery that would wrap everyone in bubble wrap to protect them from life is Anti-American and just fucking wrong.