Opinion

Considering the culture of football

Next Sunday, Super Bowl XLVIII kicks off in East Rutherford, N.J. As these warriors of the day prepare for battle, more than 82,000 fans will huddle in MetLife Stadium. It’s not unlike the violent gladiator games of ancient Rome and the Colosseum. In fact, a fourth-century engraving of the Colosseum boasted of its ability to seat 87,000 people. Gaius Julius Caesar spent a gratuitous amount of wealth, his own and eventually the state's, on these death-match style games. Caesar was said to have used games as a way to sway political and public favor.

Much like Caesar’s Roman games, American football is synonymous with violence and opulence. What's worse is the NFL maintains its widespread popularity not in spite of its Patrick Bateman-like nature, but because of it. Football is nearly omnipresent in American education. It generates huge profits for TV conglomerates, advertisers, franchise owners and athletes; and the football elite's strong political ties all culminate in an immovable institution: the Industrial Football Complex.

Former NFL safety Darren Sharper was arrested on suspicion of rape, CU’s Jock "rapist" (non) probes, and the exposing of abuses administered by the irredeemable Jerry Sandusky are just a few examples of why the 2010s have been football’s era of the predator.

The trafficking of slaves for slaughter was one way Caesar kept the blood flowing and crowds entertained. According to a recent Washington Post article, human trafficking has ties to NFL’s big game as well. The Washington Post reported that NJ is taking steps to limit the trafficking of sex slaves to East Rutherford. In the same WP report, Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli added, “(When) 400,000 men come to this area of the country … people try to take advantage.”

The fact that some Super Bowl-bound men engage in slavery-fueled prostitution is as predictable as it is untoward. Molinelli’s word usage is curious and reveals which crimes his office might not prosecute; apparently, the sex slavers are taking advantage of the "johns." Per usual, the male solicitor isn’t held accountable for anything, but “boys will be boys,” right?  Which in the NFL is like saying, “Men will be sexually exploiting, raping, and assaulting men.”

Spectator’s Samantha Sokol pondered how Columbia could give up on football, considering that Columbia invented the sport. Some Columbians cite the team’s losing record as reason enough to ax the program. Others point to the huge bite football takes out of the CU Student Life budget. Both arguments are secondary to the fact that football is, in general, a barbaric sport in the middle of its darkest period since its conception.

Under the guise of bravery and team spirit, football culture perpetuates violent, misogynistic, and divisive us-versus-them mentalities. This former offensive guard and Steelers fan is sick of hearing of football's continued ills, especially at our alma mater. What better place than CU to exorcise football from our educational soul and lead others to do the same?

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