Many liberals hate football and want to see it eliminated as a sport. This is a factual statement that need not be debated. This being the case, I will move on to the crux of the issue: Why liberals hate football. If you are reading this column and happen to be one of the few liberals who actually likes football, you may stop here. This column does not apply to you. Rather it applies to that larger group of your fellow travelers who are doing everything they can to eliminate football at all levels or, barring that, to water the sport down to a game with less physical contact than curling.
So, why do liberals hate football? There are three reasons: 1) Football is the antidote to Affirmative Action in that it rewards players solely on the basis of merit and merit is a concept liberals deplore; 2) Liberals claim that football teaches nice young men to be violent off the as well as on the field; and 3) Liberals think that a high percentage of football players are criminals. In this column I rebut each of these ill-founded claims, claims that are based on biased presuppositions rather than facts.
Football is the Anti-Dote to Affirmative Action
Affirmative Action gives liberals what they crave most—control. It allows them to decide who wins and who loses in different situations on the basis of factors they like to manipulate for political advantage; factors such as race and gender. They are working on adding sexual preference to this list of factors as one more tool they can use in their quest to transform the real world into a fantasyland of their own making. But football is not a fantasyland. It is a sport that mirrors real life.
Football, like life, is a meritorious enterprise. In deciding who makes the team and who doesn’t, who is in the starting line-up and who isn’t, who earns a lot of money and who doesn’t, and who is the Most Valuable Player and who isn’t, football considers just one thing: performance or, said another way how much an individual contributes to the team’s success. Hence, football is a merit-based enterprise. Race, sexual preference, age, political views, religious beliefs, socio-economic status, and other such factors mean nothing in football. This is the main reason why liberals hate football. Liberals claim they want to eliminate discrimination on the basis of race, gender, sexual preference, and other factors, but then they insist on Affirmative Action and other policies that discriminate on the basis of these very factors, and they do not like it that football discriminates on the basis of one thing and one thing only: performance.
Football is a threat to liberals because it does precisely what they claim they want to do but, in reality, don’t: end discrimination on the basis of race and other such factors. In football, those who can perform succeed and those who cannot fail. Race, sexual-preference, and other such factors have nothing to do with it. What is ironic in all of this is that liberals tend to be Darwinian evolutionists, a concept that advocates survival of the fittest. This being the case, liberals should love football. As a sport, it personifies survival of the fittest. Let me illustrate with just one example. I could give hundreds, as could others who have played the sport.
When I played football in high school, we always had several people vying for each position on the team. We played our games on Friday nights. Monday through Thursday, those of us who played the various positions on the team fought it out at practice to determine who would play on Friday night. We had our nominal starting line-up, but nothing was ever set in stone. In any week that a starting player did not out hustle and out-perform the other players at his position, one of them would play on Friday nights and he would be benched. Who got to play on Friday nights had nothing to do with race or whether you happened to be a Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, or Senior or even if your dad was the coach, principal, or a member of the school board. All that mattered every week was who performed best. In other words, all that mattered was merit.
In all my years of playing football at various levels, I never once heard a coach say “We don’t have any Asian players on the team or we don’t have enough white players in the backfield or we need some Hispanics as defensive backs. We better make some adjustments to balance the races.” All I ever heard football coaches say to us, the players, was this: “Show me who wants to play the most.” The concept is known as merit, and it is an accurate reflection of how the real world works. But, of course, when you are always trying to re-design the world in your own image as liberals are, merit is an unwelcome concept.
Liberals Claim that Football Teaches Young Men to be Violent off the Field
Football is a contact sport. As such it rewards hard hitting when blocking and tackling. However, it is not a violent sport as liberals claim. War is violent. Those who claim football is violent have never experienced combat. In combat the goal is to kill your enemy who, in turn, is trying to kill you. That is violence. In football the goal is to beat your opponent—not kill him. Hence, football teaches young men to be aggressive, not violent. But it also teaches them to channel that aggression in a positive way on the football field, not to indulge it off the field. Football also has stringent rules for containing the aggression the sport requires.
Football players who are aggressive or even violent off the field are engaging in behavior they learned at home, not at football practice. Young men who are raised properly in stable homes have no problem playing aggressive football on the field and being gentlemen off the field. But young men who learned—due to bad parenting or no parenting—to be aggressive at home are just acting out bad habits learned before ever donning a football helmet. I guarantee that Ray Rice learned to hit women from the environment he grew up in, not from football. If it turns out that Adrian Peterson abused his four-year old son, he was acting out behavior he learned growing up, not on the football field.
Liberals Think Football Players are Mostly Criminals
This liberal knock on football is just one more example of liberals relying on preconceived notions rather than the facts. Certainly there are football players at all levels who are criminals, but guess what? There are people from all walks of lives, all ages, all races, both genders, and all cultural backgrounds who are criminals. Football draws from the general population. Hence, as any statistician will tell you, it will have its percentage of criminals. But liberals should have checked their facts before making the claim that football players are mostly criminals. In reality, the percentage of football players who engage in criminal activities is well below the percentage of people in the general population.
In the general population, there is approximately one arrest for every 21 people. Among football players there is approximately one arrest for every 47 players. In other words, members of the general population are more likely to engage in criminal behavior than football players. Liberals could have gotten these figures by simply doing a Google search, but then doing that would have put a dent in their cherished presuppositions and deflated their blind biases.