ESPN.com's Jemele Hill stirred the pot a bit with this article, a examination of the role of women in the sport of football, and how their influence impacts the continuing trajectory of youth football and the sport in general. She makes a few poignant statements, the most glaring of which is undoubtedly the following
The key to football's survival is mothers.
A rant here will be useless. While points are made because they generally have information to back them up–valid or otherwise–this is something that has (and will likely continue to) draw considerable ire from the sex that actually PLAYS the sport. The article primarily uses the example of former NFL player Rodney Peete's wife, whose reservations regarding her son playing football has resulted in him not playing this year. Sure it's a loud example, but that's to say Rodney will not have a substantial say in whether or not his ten year old son is going to play football? Or, as one commenter suggested, is it implying that men are too dumb to realize that football is dangerous? You're saying you'd rather your husband never play football? Or should we no longer have firemen also? That's a dangerous profession.
Admittedly, Hill does acknlowege that fathers also don't want to submit their sons to shorter life expectancy and permanent brain damage. “It's not that fathers don't carry weight in the household, or feel the same reservations that many mothers and wives feel,” she says. However, the statement is immediately countered with “but it's clear this issue resonates differently with women.” While Hill may have simply meant “men and women view the world differently,” the implications are clearly not that.
Hill's point isn't so ignorant that its intolerable. Yes, mothers and fathers do ultimately view the world differently–it's an occupational hazard of having a Y Chromosome. Seeing your son paralyzed or worse is without a doubt one of the worst things anyone could go through, and mothers are notorious for hearting their sons more than Kel hearts Orange Soda. But ultimately life beckons, and sometimes a man needs to make a tackle or two. Masculinity, and the traits of protection and fearlessness that women admire (and sometimes DEPEND on) are earned, not given. And you earn that sh*t down in the trenches.
If mothers have as much power as Hill says they have, let's hope they raise their son into men. Not boys.