How Should Christians Think About the Violence of Football?

Protective sports equipment such as helmets ca...American football is a violent sport.  There is no secret to the number of injuries that happen on a regular basis.  Over the last few years the concerns of many have focused on the long-term impact of concussions on players, but other injuries are frequent and some even more serious.

I am and always have been a big fan of the sport.  I love the Cleveland Browns and Ohio State Buckeyes.  I hardly ever miss a chance to take in a game when they are televised.  However, given the violence of the sport, I am beginning to think more about how I should think in a Christian way about the sport.  Below are a couple of articles dealing with this topic.  The first is an article discussing the same question I am posing.  The second is the story of a child who was killed in a helmet-to-helmet hit during a game.  Read the articles and let me know what you think.

http://thegospelcoalition.org/mobile/article/tgc/debatable-is-football-too-violent-for-christians

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/highschool-prep-rally/york-prep-football-team-cancels-season-following-game-145922121.html

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2 Responses to How Should Christians Think About the Violence of Football?

  1. Outlaw Monk says:

    The violence of football can be debated. They aren’t one the field with the primary objective to hurt or kill each other (anyone who’s played the game can speak to this). Also, there are several verses in the Bible that praise competitiveness insofar as it is humble to the Lord; 1 Cor. 9:24-25 for example. The Bible doesn’t condemn competitiveness as long as it is executed with humility toward God and your neighbor. I think the bigger problem is the hateful attitude of football fans toward one another—it’s simply illogical. For many of the players, they don’t actually hate one another (Browns vs. Steelers or OSU vs. “that team up north”), but it’s the fans who are without humility toward God and their neighbor…I think we should probably start there if we want to examine the social aspects of the game.

    …and then there’s hockey…

  2. Tim Farley says:

    Hi Outlaw Monk. Thanks for the comment. I agree that the way fans from different teams treat each other is an issue that needs to be addressed. I think it is a reflection of how important sports have become in our culture. Far too important!

    The concern with football is that while we say that players are not intentionally trying to hurt each other (which I believe is mostly true), we must admit that a large attraction of the game is its inherent violence. We want to see big hits. Players want to make the big hits. So while injuries are not the aim, we know that they are the norm. When rules are introduced to make the game safer, fans and players resist because it cheapens the game (at least that’s the claim).

    All that said, I’ll be watching the Ohio State vs Wisconsin game Saturday night. I will not be watching hockey (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

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