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America’s lust for pain

Joe Bittner, ‘Doah Staff Writer
September 4, 2013

Why is it that America loves pain and violence? The news is filled with constant updates and visuals about the latest bombing or war. People leave the television or radio on for hours waiting to hear about the next attack and how many people perished. Americans tune in to hear tragedy.

But the most disturbing place people look for violence is in sports. The National Hockey League is known for its tough players that never quit and play through injury. It is also known for the fighting, which is minutely penalized. Teams welcome the idea of two players fighting, and even have designated tough men to help settle scores between the teams. These “fighters” use brute strength to pummel an opponent. Teammates love it, fans love it, and the sport allows it.

Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighting are sports based solely on fighting. You beat your opponent until they fall unconscious, or judges decide you hurt your opponent more than they hurt you. Is this really a sport, or publicized assault and battery?

However, the National Football League has the biggest problem in this area. How can the NFL be worse than boxing? The fanbase of the NFL crushes the fanbase of both boxing and MMA combined. More people tune in looking for their weekly dose of bone-crushing hits.

In a sport focused on tackling your opponent, hard hits are common. But when fans root for a player to launch himself in the air at an opponent to cause him physical pain, a line has been crossed. Players put their lives on the line for a sport beloved by its country.

Frank Deford, senior contributing writer at Sports Illustrated, says on this issue, “Concussions for young men are the price of our love for football, as broken hearts are what we pay for young love.” Should these young men have to sacrifice their health for America’s lust for pain? Is it important to fans for a defenseless player to be knocked unconscious solely for entertainment?

“Enthusiasm for sport can be a convenient cover to excuse the worst in us,” Deford goes on to say. While sports bring fans together, are they always rooting for the right reason? “Have no fear. Football is still our own indecent joy. The fighter jets will long fly over the Super Bowl.”

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