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Ed Driscoll

Puritan Rails Against Popular American Pastime

June 2nd, 2014 - 7:47 pm

“Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”
– H.L. Mencken.

At Reuters, film critic and journalist Neal Gabler is unhappy with entertainment of a different sort, dubbing the NFL the “Last sports bastion of white, male conservatives”:

But football’s appeal is more than demographics. The numbers reflect the values of white conservative males. No professional sport looks more overtly macho than the NFL, and none appears to take greater delight in violence — not even the National Hockey League, which has gone to great lengths to curb fisticuffs. The Michael Sam draft story revealed that none may be more homophobic. Where the National Basketball Association enthusiastically embraced Jason Collins when he announced he was gay, former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe has claimed that that he was released for advocating gay marriage and that his position coach made homophobic slurs. Then are the numerous player tweets against gays, as well as Miami Dolphin lineman and team captain Richie Incognito’s gay taunts against former teammate Jonathan Martin.

But the league’s appeal to entrenched conservative values goes deeper still — to the heart of the relationship between labor and capital. No other professional league seems to exhibit the indifference, even contempt, to its own players that the NFL does to its athletes — which is why the former players have filed their suit. The record of concussions and the use of painkillers demonstrate that to the NFL — and many of its fans — players are essentially expendable, interchangeable, to be used up and then discarded. The fact that football players have never established a powerful union, as baseball and basketball players have, only shows how much those players have drunk the league’s Kool Aid. The career of the average NFL player lasts scarcely three years, yet it is the only professional league that doesn’t have guaranteed contracts.

Still, the game’s soaring popularity may actually signal the potential waning of those values rather than their power. Just as baseball embedded itself into the national psyche because it captured a sense of the country and then hung on because it represented a pastoral oasis in a frightening new industrializing world, football embedded itself into the national psyche because it captured Ronald Reagan’s America, and it may be thriving among its core fans because it is a last redoubt of white male values now being threatened by changing national demographics and a more tolerant mindset.

It is hard to call a league as popular as the NFL an anachronism. But it just may be a place where rich old angry white men can enjoy their world on Sunday — even if that world may be crumbling around them.

Gosh.

There’s really only one thing to do — and it must be done now: “I agree, shut the whole thing down,” Glenn Reynolds jokingly quips, adding that the NBA should be shut down as well, to comply with MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry’s recent take that a professional sports league that routinely hands out seven and eight figure contracts to African Americans is a modern form of slavery.

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Top Rated Comments   
I can hear it already: "The violent strike of the golf ball, symbolic of the destruction of an entire planet, only further manifests the entrenched angry capitalist's attempt to... "
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Advice to NFL players from the immortal Super Chicken: "You knew the job was dangerous when you took it."
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Even though Gabler is from Detroit -- reason enough to hate the NFL, I suppose, since your team is now 57 years and counting without a title -- his mindset is straight out of not just a hatred of flyover country, but those segments who loathe anything vaguely connected with it, even if may of their bi-coastal neighbors enjoy it.

Neil's screed overlooks the fact that the majority of the talent base for the NFL wouldn't be available without a love of the game within the African-American community, and if the attack is going to be centered on n the whiteness of the fan base attending NFL games, Gabler needs to peek above the celebrity front-row assortment at NBA games and discover the fans-in-the-stands demographics are pretty much the same as football (we won't even get into the hyper-macho antics of many European or South American soccer fans compared to their NFL fan counterparts, since the stereotype on the left is of soccer fans as van-driving soccer moms and meterosexual dads). But since football is considered the most 'rural-based' of the major sports, targeting it means more than just attacking the game, but targets what Gabler sees as the not-his-kind-of-people who would like the game.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (23)
All Comments   (23)
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Football isn't really that macho. What's so macho about a bunch of dudes running around in spandex?

Sitting around on your butt getting fat while watching other people do stuff isn't macho. Going out and accomplishing something on your is macho, like completing a grueling hike, bagging a trophy buck, building something, fixing, and so on, not living vicariously through a bunch of roided-up morons.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
WHY would ANYONE of ANY skin color pursue a "career" that averages just 3 years? Imagine telling Mom & Dad you want them to pay for college so you can pursue a career that averages 3 years???? If I had a kid who was hell bent on pursuing a "sports career", I would encourage them to take up Tennis or Golf.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
http://www.spotrac.com/blog/nfl-minimum-salaries-veteran-discounts/
The first year salary for a rookie in 2014 is $420,000, which is probably 10-15 times the annual first year salary of the average college graduate. After taxes and agent's fees he might have $275,000 left. If he doesn't go hog wild, buying a Mazerati and taking on a $1,000,000 mortgage like many do, but instead puts the bulk of it in reasonably safe mutual funds and lets it sit for 20-40 years, his relatively comfortable retirement from working at 62 will be assured.

If he lasts the average three years, his minimum salary will total $1,530,000. If he has any fiscal discipline, he will put the bulk of his net earnings into the same investments and lets them sit for several decades, he will likely to be able to retire at 55-60 or earlier with a solid portfolio to live well for the rest of his life.

This is true, because as even Einstein knew, the most powerful force in the universe is...compound interest.

However, that assumes they don't go nuts and spend it all in six months on wine, women and song, and wasting the rest. They are supposed to be college grads or in position to get their degree after their football careers are over. If they get just an average job they should be able to support themselves well enough while their wealth builds over time.

What ordinary American would not have loved to start off their adult life with $275,000 to $800,000+ after tax to put in savings. It is not the fault of the NFL that the athletes that play for them urinate away their future in a short time, yet professional sports is rife with stars that earned upwards of tens of millions in their careers that declare bankruptcy and end up on the streets. The league actually offers money management courses for rookies, but they can't make the horses drink the water.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Heh, I read the headline as "Putin Rails Against Popular American Pastime" and thought...what?
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Me too.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Heh. I made that mistake too.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
this clown laments the NFL's supposed bent knee obedience to a white, conservative clientele while ignoring the craven manner in which it advocates for O-care, gay rights and every other feel good leftist cause of the day in exchange for non-profit status, massively subsidized venues and regulatory protectionism from the government. I can't believe this guy is even taken seriously, but then again, Al Sharpton is still on the air.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Now THAT'S what I'm talkin' about!!
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
oh, wait- unions aren't racist? Because Detroit is just one big rainbow of intertwined neighborly hugs?

oh, wait........the most unionized city in America is also the most segregated.

38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Don't give the Feral Gubermint any ideas...they could use all the vacant land & abandoned houses in Detroit for FEMA Camps to house all the "bitter clinger" whites, who don't willingly hand over ALL their guns. Then Detroit would have enough white people to be considered "integrated". Never mind that the whites would be the newly enslaved population...."what, at this point, does it matter"?
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Interesting…there’s a lot here that overlaps with Andrew Klavan’s current post about gay-marriage (also presently up on the main page).

There isn’t really much principle in these people – they claim principle…nay, they shout it at the top of their lungs…but it’s a lie. Gabler doesn’t actually care one whit about the NFL. It is about the exercise of power for the purposes of coercion and control…You don’t like the same things I do and don’t think the same things that I do…so I shall badger you to the end of days until you kneel before me and submit…
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yeah.........which is why professional football had black players in 1904, and a black coach by 1910. Totally racist.

Completely racist, too, is the media covering it- all those giant black men giving very thoughtful, spiritual interviews, commending Bruno Mars' music, wearing tailored suits......totally racist.

Deion Sanders finding ways to have hard-working, focused young men with less than stellar media skills say good things about their high school, their college, their parents, their new team. Totally racist, making young men look good at the start of their professional career.

38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why is the NFL called "White"? Are there no Black players? A dislike of homosexuality runs pretty deep among Blacks.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Noting black fans doesn't fit the narrative so it has to be called white to be racist. You know, like a white Hispanic or a white Asian, the black fans must be white blacks.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Advice to NFL players from the immortal Super Chicken: "You knew the job was dangerous when you took it."
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Now that football and basketball are officially and actually unbearable to watch, with most of the coverage about the acceptability of the players and their thoughts, golf is the lone sport worth watching. Until liberals screw it up.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ha, Charles P. Pierce, ready to write his standard left-wing rant for you:
http://grantland.com/features/oh-wont-someone-think-of-the-billionaires/
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
I can hear it already: "The violent strike of the golf ball, symbolic of the destruction of an entire planet, only further manifests the entrenched angry capitalist's attempt to... "
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
And the balls are always white, what's up with that? It's like the symbolic beating up of white men only. I want balls of appropriate colors in appropriate numbers, and fifty-one percent of golfers shouldn't have balls at all ... though just how one constructs the feminine equivalent is problematic especially on a family-oriented forum.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Golf is safe so long as The Won plays...
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
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