"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Mixed Message at ESPN

When you wake up early in a different time zone in a hotel by yourself, you tend to end up watching a lot of ESPN.   This morning I noticed a couple of interesting stories that were played essentially for laughs.

The first was an interview with the great South Carolina defensive end Jadaveon Clowney, who became famous last year for this hit against Michigan:

Now that is a great hit.  But aren't we now supposed to be talking about how football causes concussions and long-term brain injuries?   Yet we still celebrate the big hit.   I've probably seen this clip a hundred times on ESPN by now.  

The next clip was of a North American Hockey League "fight" where the players didnt' really want to get into it.

The ESPN announcers essentially ridiculed these guys (as they should) for not fighting each other.   But, again, aren't we supposed to be critical of the violence in sport, particularly unnecessary violence like hockey fights.   (I know that hockey purists would disagree and say that fighting is an important way the sport defuses potential violence.)   Don't boxers who fight with gloves get brain damages?   Wouldn't bare-knuckle hockey fighters suffer the same potential brain injuries?

I tend to think that adults assume risks for a variety of reasons -- to make a living the obvious one -- so I dont' criticize hard hits in football or fights in hockey or boxing.   But ESPN will undoubtedly air nineteen hours of specials over the next year about the dangers of brain injuries in sports.   They seem to want to have it both ways.

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