Against Football: One Fan's Reluctant Manifesto

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Against Football: One Fan's Reluctant Manifesto Football

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In a searing manifesto sure to enrage at least half the nation, New York Times bestselling author Steve Almond takes on America’s biggest sacred cow: football

On any given Sunday, football functions more like a national religion than a sport.

But simply put: the game isn’t good for us. Medical research confirms what the grim headlines keep reporting: football causes brain damage. Beloved Hall of Famers are now suffering from dementia, and taking their own lives. Children and teenagers are susceptible to the same sorts of injuries with the same long-term results.

But football’s psychological and economic hazards—though more subtle—are just as profound.

In Against Football, Steve Almond details why, after forty years as a fan, he can no longer watch the game he still loves. Using a synthesis of memoir, reportage, and cultural critique, Almond asks a series of provocative questions:

• What does it mean that our society has transmuted the intuitive physical joys of childhood—run, leap, throw, tackle—into a billion-dollar industry?
• How did a sport that causes brain damage become the leading signifier of our institutions of higher learning?
• Does our addiction to football foster a tolerance for violence, greed, racism, and homophobia?

There has never been a book that exposes the dark underside of America’s favorite game with such searing candor.

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  • Lead with Your Head, Son!

    5 out of 5

    Written by , Posted on at 3:17:48 PM

    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?