Opinion
Get Opinion in your inbox -- sign up for our weekly newsletter
Readers React
Opinion Readers React
Readers React

Two views of football in America

To the editor: Mark Edmundson’s statement that war can be “beautiful” to describe the appeal of football embodies the worst of American jingoism. (“Kicking the football habit,” and “We are what we love: For Americans, that means the warlike game of football,” Opinion, Aug. 24)

The fetishizing of violence and the invincibility of our military is what has led us into so many costly misadventures abroad.

When George W. Bush’s inner circle was contemplating whether to invade Iraq, it’s no coincidence that the two men who thought it was a bad idea were the ones in the room who had actually been in combat.

War is not beautiful.

John Wolfenden, Sherman Oaks

..

To the editor: Bravo for your parallel views on football in America in the weekend paper.

Taken together, they beautifully sum up my own perceptions of the evolution of this athletic pastime into a national religion — and why I approach the next several months of tumult and shouting with a mixture of resignation and apathy.

I cherish baseball. I thrill to the NBA. But I am simply not a football guy.

(Of course, I’m guessing you knew that when I started my letter with the word “Bravo.”)

R.C. Price, San Clemente

..

To the editor: Edmundson’s equating the rise in the popularity of football to our increased acceptance or recognition of our warlike nature is interesting but wrong.

Football has always been more exciting than baseball. The rise in the popularity of football was a direct result of the rise of television. Once the game became available to millions at home, it was no contest.

Michael Gitter, Pacific Palisades

..

To the editor: Gimme a break. Nobody cares whether your writer watches another football game.

The injuries suffered by players are tragic, and the NFL must and will continue to make progress in doing as much as can be done to prevent such injuries.

But, hey, football is a game of blocking and tackling with force, and then taking care of the players who suffer the injuries.

The greater travesty is that The Times’ editors published this nonsense. I am still wondering why I read the article to the very end.

By the way, I played fullback/linebacker for the University of Illinois in the early 1960s and represented several NFL players through my law practice.

Bruce Singman, Pacific Palisades

..

To the editor: I don’t disagree with Edmundson about the effects of the football culture, but I think he needs a better argument.

It is simplistic to say that Americans were peace-loving before the rise of football.

He doesn’t address 1861 and 1898, and the long period of “peace” between those conflicts. And what were we doing then? Oh yeah, exterminating the natives of the continent.

Charles Otwell, Orange

..

To the editor: Since the 1940s, America has been at war or on the brink of war (the Cold War).

So it’s not surprising that during that same period, the NFL has grown exponentially.

A sport based on violent contact and physical confrontation, with such military terms as blitz, bomb, aerial attack and battling in the trenches, reflects the national culture.

What other team sport utilizes such overtly militaristic phraseology? And you may have noticed that stealth bombers are not infrequent visitors to the Super Bowl.

Prior to this time, baseball was our national pastime. No more. The warrior culture has become us, and so too has football.

Bob Teigan, Santa Susana

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
  • Boycotting the football industrial complex

    Boycotting the football industrial complex

    A few years ago, I began to feel guilty about watching football. What started it were the revelations about brain damage we now know the game caused in many retired players. But there was plenty more — the cynical commercialization of the sport, its cultish celebration of violence and the more...

  • Why we shouldn't see the Virginia shooting online -- or on The Times' front page

    Why we shouldn't see the Virginia shooting online -- or on The Times' front page

    To the editor: Television critic Mary McNamara is way off in justifying those who watched the video of WDBJ-TV reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward being killed. We don't need to watch these amazing people being gunned down to remind ourselves that our own reality is “not the totality...

  • How to neutralize Donald Trump: Secure the border

    To the editor: I am pleased to read that The Times editorial board agrees that we must secure our border. Most Americans would heartily endorse an immigration plan that first secures the border and then lays out a plan for people to work toward earning citizenship. ("The shameful campaign against...

  • The 'listening' done by researchers to those affected by autism

    To the editor: Although it can be argued, as Steve Silberman does, that there is not enough funding “committed to serving the needs of autistic people and their families,” that doesn't mean such research doesn't happen. ("Autism Speaks needs to do a lot more listening," Op-Ed, Aug. 24)

  • Merl Reagle -- the puzzle master readers felt they knew

    Merl Reagle -- the puzzle master readers felt they knew

    For these readers, the obituary Sunday of puzzle master Merl Reagle, who died after a sudden illness last Saturday, hit them personally. The article described Reagle as among the “best known and most beloved crafters of puzzles in the business,” and the nearly two dozen letters written in response...

  • If 'Dreamers' want sympathy and support, they should be more thankful

    If 'Dreamers' want sympathy and support, they should be more thankful

    To the editor: If so-called Dreamers — the children of immigrants brought to the United States illegally, often by their parents — want to succeed, they need to spurn organizer Kent Wong (who says he wants his trainees to transform this country) and hire a real public relations firm. Wong forgets...

  • Are we the world's mass-shooting capital because of income inequality?

    To the editor: While I applaud your coverage of University of Alabama criminologist Adam Lankford's research on mass shootings, scrutiny of such events risks overshadowing larger societal problems. Mass shootings pale in comparison with ordinary homicides. ("Why the U.S. is No. 1 -- in mass shootings...

  • Regulate Uber, Lyft and taxis the same way

    To the editor: The old adage is that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck. Hence, Uber and Lyft are taxi services. ("Taxi lobby's City Hall spending falls short against Uber, Lyft over LAX," AUg. 25)

Comments
Loading
77°