The Ethics of Watching Football

1. Room for Debate: Is It Wrong to Watch Football?

This first link is from the New York Times’ Room for Debate series. Here, four experts discuss the question about whether it is ethical to watch football.

“How can fans enjoy watching a game that helps ruin players’ lives?”

2. The Ethicist: Is it Wrong to Watch Football

From the New York Times’ series, The Ethicist. 

“What you are concerned about involves one disquieting aspect of one specific sport. You want to know if it’s ethically acceptable to watch a game that is dangerous to the athletes who participate. And the answer to that query is yes.”

3. Aaron Hernandez suffered from most severe CTE ever found in a person his age

From the Washington Post, an article that details that brain damage suffered by a young and prominent NFL star who was also convicted of murder. If this type of brain damage is possible from playing the sport, should it be legal? If it legal, with the consent and full information of those playing, is it ethical to watch this sport?

4. The Federalist: Now That We Know Football Hurts Athletes, Should We Keep Watching?

“It’s time for football fans to consider the morality of a sport that turns young athletes into middle-aged corpses, racked by dementia and disabilities.”

“How long can an activity that may carry with it the likelihood of an awful life-shortening ailment continue to hold the imagination of the country? Those who believe football is too big and too popular to ever be cast aside should remember that only 80 years ago, boxing reigned alongside baseball as the country’s only true national sport. Even a half century ago, when Muhammad Ali was heavyweight champion, boxing was still immensely popular even if, unlike in previous generations, the percentage of youngsters who boxed was tiny. Today, it still exists and manages to hold a niche of the sports market, but it is a marginal endeavor derided for its brutality that increasingly few American care about.”

5. Reason Magazine: Is Watching Football Unethical?

From a Libertarian perspective, how should we view the ethics of watching football?

6. I’m the Wife of a Former N.F.L. Player. Football Destroyed His Mind.
He chose the sport, but he did not choose brain damage.


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