If you’re yet to read the book Against Football, please do – as it’s a truly thought-provoking tale. While you might not agree with many of the arguments the author – Steve Almond, makes, the arguments have been made in a stringent manner. In other words, even critics will argue that the author has attempted to write his viewpoints in an impartial and fair nature, subsequently ensuring that all potentialities are covered.
In a nutshell, the book centres on the very-real dark side of the game that Almond used to love – football. In fact, for more than 40 years he was glued to the game. However, upon unravelling the many issues facing the sport, Almond notes that he can no longer watch the game he once loved. Crucially, this centres on a number of difficult questions that must be answered at a governmental level.
First and foremost, is there a correlation between on-field violence and that of violence in local communities? Notably, the author finds it alarming that kids are taught from a very young age that aggression is wrong, only for the very same preachers of ethics to support a game that is built on violence. Some, including Almond, would argue that the game not only supports violence, but it encourages it.
Secondly, Almond explores the negative impact that commercialization has had on the game. In what started as a child’s dream to net that winning touchdown on Super Bowl day has since turned into a desire to make as much money as possible. No longer are young players attracted by the glittery lights of Friday Night Football, but instead, by the number of zeros that they can accumulate during their short-lived career.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Against Football explores the very real relationship between a lifelong career in football with that of the concussion crisis. Almond asks and explores some very serious questions surrounding empirical studies that argue football can directly lead to brain damage post-career. While the marketing machines of football will strive to ignore this research, for how much longer can they continue to do so?