Against Football

Against Football

One Fan's Reluctant Manifesto

Book - 2014
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Argues that not only is American football hazardous to players' health, and especially to their brains, but also that American support of the sport encourages violence, prejudices, and other ethically troubling behavior.
Publisher: Brooklyn :, Melville House,, [2014]
ISBN: 9781612194158
161219415X
Branch Call Number: 796.332 A452ag 2014
Characteristics: xiii, 178 pages ; 20 cm

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r
ryner
Sep 18, 2019

Though it pained him, lifelong, self-admitted football superfan Steve Almond reluctantly came to acknowledge how destructive and damaging (in more ways than one) his favorite sport is. Though he focuses in this slim volume primarily on the quite shocking permanent physical, psychological and mental damage players experience over years playing the game, he also calls out the ways in which the NFL organization (which has an astoundingly non-profit tax status) takes advantage of its host cities and, especially, their taxpayers. It isn't entirely doom and gloom, though -- he provides in the final chapter some suggestions which, if adopted, would provide some measure of improvement to both the game itself and the NFL without abandoning the sport completely. It wasn't difficult for Almond to sway me, as I'm an apathetic football fan at best. However, I would challenge real fans to read through this book and then ask themselves if their conscience still allows them to watch other human beings damage themselves and each other for our entertainment, while the team owners laugh themselves all the way to the bank.

p
Persnickety77
Jan 12, 2015

An incredibly eye-opening look at just how awful the NFL is. all football fans should read this. I don't know that i will be able to completely stop following the 49ers, but I want to try. I will stop giving the NFL even one penny of my money, that is for sure. at the very least we fans need to petition to make the NFL lose it's standing as a tax-exempt organization - that is just crazy

FindingJane Sep 28, 2014

Mr. Almond’s book is a clear outline of the health dangers, hyperbole and rampant capitalism that lays at the heart of our nation’s love for football. It is also an unabashed outlay of one man’s passionate affair with America’s most lucrative sport.

Americans love football and Mr. Almond understands that. His book is not harsh diatribe against that love, merely an attempt to open our eyes about its ugly underbelly: the NFL’s consistent denial that professional football creates incurable brain damage, its fostering of vicious homophobia, its massive greed at the taxpayer’s expense, et all. He insists that he doesn’t want to take away anyone’s genuine adoration of the game. Indeed, it was one of the ways he bonded with his father, a way in which many boys connect with their fathers. But it’s difficult to read this book and come away without a gut-wrenching feeling of disquiet and shame.

Whether you’re a football fan or not, Mr. Almond’s latest book does what the books of Michael Pollen or Eric Schlosser do—they expose what’s wrong with a section of American society and challenge us to do something about it. This is just one of those books that lend themselves to powerful conversation and debate and isn’t that what the best books do?

m
mswrite
Sep 08, 2014

"Against Football" should be required reading for anyone and everyone who loves the game, although the people who most need to read this timely and informative book may avoid it.

Which would be a shame, because author Steve Almond, a journalist, sportswriter, and lifelong Raiders fan, has presented a persuasive and uncompromising argument about the need for serious change, both in how the game of football is played (to better protect the health and well-being of players, including and especially players at the college and high school levels) and how it is financed.

Owner greed has reached obscenely titanic proportions, much to the detriment of financially strapped cities and communities whose tax dollars pay for stunningly expensive stadiums among other things, money that would be better spent on crumbling schools, child care assistance, hot breakfast and lunch programs for youngsters, food pantries and infrastructure repairs.

And why exactly is American football tax exempt? (I didn't like the answer and unless you own a football team you won't either.)

Almond also explores the ugly by-products of football/team sports culture, asking pointed questions about racism, misogyny, and homophobia. He does all this in a refreshingly honest and engaging conversational style that pulls you in and sometimes amuses, sometimes shocks, but most importantly, makes you think.

A HIGHLY recommended read even if you aren't a sports fan. (I am not but I was so intrigued by the stark title that I had to check it out.)

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