Should Football be a Big Hit?

In the moments before halftime during Sunday’s Seahawks-Cowboys game, Seattle wide receiver Ricardo Lockette was involved in a massive collision during a Seattle punt that rendered him unconscious and immobile on the field for several minutes.

I remember watching the game and checking my Twitter feed while Lockett was tended to by the Seahawks’ medical staff. I read a tweet that said something along the lines of, “What happens when we see someone die on the field on national television?” That question stuck with me and while sitting on my couch at home, watching Lockette being carted off the field, I had to wonder about the future of a sport as violent as football.

Sure, the hit Lockette sustained at the hands (or rather shoulders) of Jeff Heath was high. To borrow the language of Seattle head coach Pete Carroll, the hit was “out of the strike zone” (not between the shoulders and knees). Still, football is an intrinsically violent sport and, short of massive rule changes, more occurrences like the one in Dallas last Sunday are bound to happen.

This reality should make football fans uncomfortable. Sure, freak accidents happen and even in low contact sports like basketball players suffer grizzly injuries, but the difference between those injuries and the ones suffered by football players is in the frequency and intensity of the injuries. Football players are lucky to walk away from a career not marred by injury and this realization has led some professional players to retire (see the 49ers offseason).

As the years roll on, football players and fans will have to come to terms with the fact that the sport they love is predicated on violence and we must question whether an obsession with such a sport is healthy, for the sake of all involved.

–Will McQuilkin, A&E Editor