It’s the start of another N.F.L. season, the time of year Americans turn on their televisions to watch their favorite teams make spectacular plays and their favorite players commit incredible acts of athleticism. But is America’s favorite pastime actually its guiltiest pleasure? Can fans ethically enjoy watching a football game?
The effects of the tackles on players’ brains is one reason you might feel guilty for watching. The injuries come on top of long-running disagreements between players and the league. How do you balance the brutality of the sport with the athleticism and beauty?
Steve Almond gave up watching football because of the values he sees it embracing. Kevin Clark watches football as part of his job as a writer and reporter at The Ringer.
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(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
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“The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha, and edited by Alison Bruzek, Sarah Geis and Paula Szuchman; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin.