Comment Of The Day: “Ethics Quiz, Super Bowl Edition: Justin Timberlake’s Integrity”

John Billingsley elaborates on the import and implications of the troubling research results regarding the brain disease CTE and participants in contact sports, especially football.

Here is his Comment of the Day on the post, Ethics Quiz, Super Bowl Edition: Justin Timberlake’s Integrity:

I agree that with 99% of NFL players and 91% of college players showing CTE on autopsy there is no ethical justification for American football and we don’t need it. Do we actually need any contact sports? CTE has been demonstrated in participants in multiple other contact sports including basketball, boxing, ice hockey, rugby, soccer, wrestling, and baseball. Unfortunately, there is not as much information available about the rates of CTE in those sports. There was an autopsy study demonstrating CTE in the brains of 21 of 66 individuals who participated in different contact sports at various levels, but no CTE in the brains of 198 controls who had no history of participating in contact sports. A study looking at high school athletes who participated in various contact sports from 2005 to 2014 found that there were about 300,000 concussions annually. That study found that the sport with the highest rate of concussions adjusted for the rate of participation was girl’s soccer. A concussion does not mean CTE will develop but repeated head injury is the etiology of CTE. Continue reading

Your Ethics Alarms Super Bowl Guilt Trip

You know that by watching the Super Bowl, you’re helping to kill and cripple young men, right?

Sure you do.

You and people like you watch the Super Bowl, maybe hold parties around it, allowing the NFL to make millions of dollars selling ads and merchandise off of the most watched sporting event of the year. And, of course, the popularity of the Super Bowl makes it the year’s #1 promotion for the billion dollar mega-industry that is the National Football League, and down the line, for billion dollar corrupt big time college football, and in places like Texas and other regions warped by the “Friday Night Lights” mentality, high school football, and further down the line, youth football, where kids a young as 8 begin getting the blows to the head that will help make them confused and dysfunctional in their fifties or earlier if they play long enough…and maybe even if the don’t.

Hey, these are great nachos! Is this a microbrew? Look at that funny ad!

The film above, “Concussion Protocol,” was released this month, and shows a compilation of every reported concussion this season. Directed by Josh Begley and produced by Laura Poitras,  it is believed to be a nearly complete compilation of the NFL’s reported 281 concussions this season, the most since 2012. The NFL, which is affirmatively evil, is spinning this as a good thing, pointing out that it means that players are self-reporting their head injuries more often.

Sure. That must be it. Bravo! Problem solved. DE-Fence!
Continue reading

More On The Ethics Of Watching Football From Malcolm Gladwell

And NO,Malcolm is NOT Art Garfunkle's son!

I don’t generally post “See? Someone famous and respectable agrees with me!” links, because 1) somebody agreeing with me doesn’t validate my argument, 2) I’m trying to promote ethical awareness and analysis skills, not to be “right,” and most of all, 3) if I did, I’d feel I had to hide when the famous someone is Glenn Beck, Joy Behar, Ozzie Ozbourne or Dinky, the Pet Rock.

However, I found the comments of Malcolm Gladwell on the topic of football interesting, and I link to them here. Gladwell is the author of “The Tipping Point,” and like Jacque Barzun, Bill James, George Will, Judge Richard Posner, blogger Rick Jones and some other perceptive thinkers I admire, always worth paying attention to, even when he’s wrong. I had suggested that the increasing evidence that football-related head injuries were routinely crippling players implicated the ethics of being a football fan here, and have periodically revisited the issue on this blog  and as a guest on Michel Martin’s NPR show, “Tell Me More.” As a result, I have received a good amount of hate mail from football fans, telling me that I’m a baseball-biased idiot. I may be that, but I don’t think Gladwell is. I think that he ( and I) may be right: ethics and insurance premiums may eventually  send football the way of pro boxing.


Spark:, on Ray Easterling’s recent suicide.

Source: Slate

Ethics Alarms attempts to give proper attribution and credit to all sources of facts, analysis and other assistance that go into its blog posts. If you are aware of one I missed, or believe your own work was used in any way without proper attribution, please contact me, Jack Marshall, at

Ethics Hero: Jim Brown

Wne Jim Brown talks, people tend to listen.

I have mixed feelings about Jim Brown, the legendary N.F.L. running back and former movie star (“The Dirty Dozen”), stemming from the fact that loving a woman and beating her up never seemed to be mutually exclusive actions to him. His domestic problems aside, however, Brown has also periodically used his fame and status to draw needed attention to important issues, and he has just done so again, calling out the N.F.L. players’ union for apparently failing to make the welfare of retired players part of their impending deal with the league’s owners.

“Why isn’t the union talking about health care, better health care?” Brown recently told reporters. “Why aren’t they talking about better pensions? You definitely need a health plan that goes beyond five years; you definitely need a better pension plan.” Continue reading