Sports

An ESPN Analyst Claimed There’s A ‘War On Football,’ And Twitter Had A Field Day

Former Florida State quarterback Danny Kanell is a college football commentator on ESPN nowadays, so he has a vested interest in football’s continued dominance over American sports. Small wonder, then, that he’s not happy about people wising up to (and making movies about) just how damaging football is to the human body, especially the brain.

Much like the fabled War on Christmas, in which a dominant cultural institution finally experiencing some needed pushback sounds a shrill, defensive alarm, Kanell is out here talking about a War on Football.

Because Twitter is Twitter, Kanell’s statement sparked a debate, in which Kanell continued to engage:

In case you were wondering what brought this on from Kanell, he helpfully clarified:

That article he links to is a column from Dr. Bennet Omalu, the real-life version of Will Smith’s character in the upcoming movie Concussion, who warns parents not to let their kids play in contact sports that are high risks for brain injury until they turn 18, and their brains are less susceptible to permanent damage.

But who cares about what some stupid scientist (who was the first to discover CTE in the brains of dead football players) has to say? He’s clearly just an anti-football liberal media stooge, right? Well, when you trivialize a scientifically-based argument for preventing brain damage in children, people are not going to let that slide, particularly other members of the media:

https://twitter.com/Lahlahlindsey/status/674243952783007744

https://twitter.com/JordanBrenner/status/674242287166234624

So, Kanell is confusing scientific data that reveals his beloved sport to be incredibly dangerous with persecution, and arguing with people on Twitter about it.

It’s fine if Kanell wants to disagree with Omalu’s assertion that kids shouldn’t play football until they’re 18 — that would clearly be deadly to the profitability and marketability of college football, his moneymaker, so he should be expected to. But it’s the broad-brush labeling of the other side as haters (and worse, the classic “liberal media” bugaboo) that’s offensive to everyone who’s lived through the effects of traumatic brain injuries on football players on their families. They should never be treated this dismissively.

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