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JENKINS: The Grinches who are trying to steal football

Photo by Ginny Sampson 

Photo by Ginny Sampson 

We all know the nanny-staters, with which this country is rife and who in fact now seem to be running things, have long been opposed to fun.

They don’t want us to eat fast food. They don’t want us to drink soft drinks. They don’t want us to drive SUV’s or hunt or fish or engage in many other activities that make life enjoyable for red-blooded Americans.

Now they’ve trained their crosshairs on the greatest American pastime of all: football.

I know some of you probably think that’s ridiculous. Football is far too popular. There’s no way the nanny-staters, the hand-wringers in Washington and elsewhere, will ever be able to affect it.

To you I would say, look again, my friends. The anti-football campaign has already begun and is in fact proceeding at an astonishing rate.

Why do you think we’re suddenly hearing so much about concussions and other football-related injuries? About memory loss and other lingering side-effects supposedly attributed to football? Those things have been going on for a long time; in that sense, they’re not news. But every time there’s some new incident, it’s the lead story on “SportsCenter.”

Of course, such stories are strictly anecdotal. The number of football-related incidents pales in comparison to the millions of Americans who have played the game at one level or another. But the sensational headlines prove useful in advancing the narrative that football is an unreasonably dangerous activity.

Just look at the rule changes in the NFL over the past two years, in response to all the negative publicity. Hits that until recently would have been regarded as perfectly normal, if not inevitable, now draw significant penalties.

If none of that persuades you, then consider the words of Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan, considered the dean of American sportswriters and a man who has made his living reporting on, among other things, football:

“Football is a brutal, almost barbaric game. It is a game in which ridiculously large men, pumped up or drugged up or gorged upward of 30 percent more than the weight they should be safely carrying, smash into each other upward of 80 times a game. ... The result is carnage. Everyone gets hurt, sooner or later. ... There is a constant threat of both extreme physical and neurological damage. ... Those who play football at a high level pay a physical price for it eventually.”

But Ryan doesn’t stop there. He goes on to say, “The simple truth is that football can never be made safe. ... (It) has an enormous appeal to many people who are borderline psychopaths. ... That football is America’s current sport of choice reflects poorly on us as a people.”

And there you have it, straight from the nanny-state-enabling Mainstream Media. Football is an evil sport, and we’re all bad people — nay, “borderline psychopaths” — for liking it.

If that doesn’t constitute an anti-football campaign, I’m not sure what would.

Rob Jenkins is a local freelance writer and the author of “Family Man: The Art of Surviving Domestic Tranquility,” available at Books for Less in Buford and on Amazon. Email Rob at rjenkinsgdp@yahoo.com or visit familymanthebook.com.