Should Christians Support the Violent NFL?

Julie Roys is host of a national talk show on the Moody Radio Network called "Up For Debate.”
Julie Roys is host of a national talk show on the Moody Radio Network called “Up For Debate.”

I have a confession to make. I absolutely love NFL football. That may sound odd coming from a middle-aged mom of three, but you have to understand: I married a Cheesehead – Wisconsin born and bred. So for me, rooting for the Packers is not just sport; it’s marital duty.

It’s also something that brings my husband and me together with our kids. Though one of our sons defected to the Chicago Bears, watching football remains one of our family’s favorite activities. There’s just something about experiencing the highs and lows of a game that bonds our family in this weird sort of way. If you’re a fan, you know what I mean.

These memories are precious. And, that’s why football remains incredibly nostalgic for me. I have fond childhood memories of watching NFL football on Sunday afternoons with my entire family. My mom would usually nod off after doing some crossword puzzle. But, the rest of us would delight ourselves cheering, groaning and yelling at the TV. Best of all, we kids would enjoy three full hours of uninterrupted time with my dad, which was no small thing. He was a surgeon and worked long, consecutive days, so that time together was precious.

Today, though, I find myself conflicted about the sport. Believe me, I’d like to tune out the recent scandals in the NFL. But, it’s hard to ignore running back Adrian Peterson allegedly beating his four-year-old son – or Ray Rice knocking out his girlfriend in a hotel elevator. The video of that incident literally made me sick to my stomach.

For as long as I can remember, people have criticized football for breeding a culture of violence, but I’ve generally dismissed those arguments. After all, there seem to be plenty of upstanding football players who understand the difference between slamming an opponent onto the field and slugging a wife or girlfriend off the field. Yet, the NFL’s sluggish response to these reports of abuse seems to reveal at least a partial tolerance of this kind of behavior. Plus, now we’re hearing that at least a dozen NFL players have domestic violence arrests, but continue to play the game.

True masculinity protects women and children. But, these revelations reinforce a suspicion I’ve had for a while – that football often breeds a kind of false masculinity that promotes brutish domination. I don’t think this perverse culture is confined to professional football, though. Nor is the domination merely physical.

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SOURCE: The Christian Post
Julie Roys

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