Question, should Boxers and Mixed Martial Artists not try to knock each other out? How can you play a contact sport without making contact? It seems Roger Goodell is actually trying to answer these questions as they pertain to football. Imagine a Boxer being told that if you knock out your opponent then you’ll be fined and possibly suspended. How about a boxer’s trainer being told that if you tell your fighter to knock out his opponent, then he’ll be banned from the sport for life. They call this a “bounty” in the NFL, but in boxing it’s just a violent aspect of a violent sport.
Imagine an MMA fighter being told that you can’t hit your opponent in the head, but only the body. You see, I’ve been looking for the right analogy to use to describe why I believe Roger Goodell’s crusade to make the NFL safer is only going to result in altering the game to the point where the real fans will turn away from it. Think about what boxing would be if the fighters couldn’t hit each other in the head. If Roger Goodell were a Boxing commissioner, imagine him telling Mike Tyson you can’t hit your opponent in the head. Do you see the point that I’m making now?
Yes Boxing would be safer the for the combatants if they couldn’t hit each other in the head, but who would want to watch it? Not me. Another reason why this safe football movement is going too far, is the ridiculous sentiment that you can make a violent sport non-violent. The NFL seems to be forgetting that people watch these sports because they are violent. Violence is part of the attraction. That may be a controversial stance in today’s politically correct environment, but it’s real.
It’s also ridiculous that football players are suing their employers for damage that they voluntarily inflicted upon themselves. Imagine a Boxer suing his promoter because he is now suffering from injuries sustained while voluntarily participating in the sport. This isn’t ancient Rome where slaves were made to fight and die in the coliseum. No one had a gun aimed at their heads forcing them to play. Athletes have a choice to participate or not. If you are a professional football player or a professional fighter and you are not willing to accept that you may sustain permanent damage to your body by playing, then don’t play. Simple isn’t it? There are thousands of other ways to earn a living.
And if the NFL can’t accept the fact that football is violent and that injuries to players can and will occur due to the violent nature of the sport, then they should do one of two things: 1. Take the helmets and pads away and put flags on everyone., or 2. Shut the league down. Because if they take this kinder, gentler version of the NFL too much farther, then fans will be turned off by it. Just like MMA fans would be turned off if the fighters couldn’t strike blows to the head, the same thing would happen with the NFL.
Legislating from a position of fear rarely works. Fear of being sued or fear of having to deal with the negative ramifications of violent actions are not clear enough reasons to ask your fans, your customers to accept changes to your product that they didn’t ask for. Maybe the NFL has gotten too big for its britches. It seems the image of the NFL has become more important than the game itself. And if that’s true then the NFL has a problem. Mr. Goodell, why is it OK for boxers to get knocked out with no helmets and no pads, and not OK for NFL players who do wear helmets and pads?
- Spontaneous Combustion: Goodell needs to explain why Bounty-gate is worse than Spy-gate? (fanonfiresportswire.com)