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February 03, 2013

Is Football Kosher?

NFL FootballSome rabbis ruled that boxing, because of it's high risk of serious injury including brain damage, was forbidden. But to my knowledge, no rabbi has ruled that American football is forbidden – even though the evidence that a high percentage of football players have brain damage is now clear. The brain damage causes Alzheimer's -like symptoms and an increased rate of suicide. Shouldn't playing football (or watching it, for that matter) be forbidden? If not, why not?

NFL Football

What do you think?

I can't see a good reason not to forbid it.

Can you?

Comments

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Most people will use their own common sense and independent critical judgment and decide for themselves whether football should be played, and if so, watched. No one with independent judgment will listen to what a rabbi has to say, any more than anyone else.

From the LA Times
""""
NFL and NCAA footballs are made of cowhide, not pigskin. That little fiction dates from American football's rough draft, English rugby, for which the inflated bladder was, depending on whom you believe, a pig's bladder, encased in pig hide or in any leather deemed to be as tough as a pig's skin.
""""

When I first saw this headline, I really thought it was going to be some haredi rabbi misunderstanding the whole "pigskin" thing.

I played through college without Ill effects and I played in college without any ill effects.

Oh, and I played in college without ill effects.

Rebitzman, you crack me up.

i think theres a big difference between boxing and football. in boxing the goal is to hurt the other guy. in fact if you hurt him so badly that he gets knocked out, you win instantly. in football, the goal is to outscore the other team. while that often involves players getting hurt , it isnt required.
separately, even if one determined that boxing is assur, to what extent? assur to promote it? assur to do it actively? assur to support it? assur to pay to attend a match? i can accept all of those.
but if its taking place regardless is it wrong to read about what took place in a boxing match? i dont think so. is it wrong to watch on broadcast TV where your viewership is unknown and has no effect ? again i dont think so.

If it smells kosher it wouldn't be mentioned on this Jew hating site

My Rov says that watching the Super Bowl is absolutely assur. When I spoke with him in private he upheld his decision and suggested that if I want I should use YouTube to see the GoDaddy commercial.

Its the same with all dangerous activities,be it smoking or football it should be obvious to anyone with a brain that theese activities are dangerous as a child i knew that inhaling smoke is not good for you its a no brainer the same with footbal the violent banging toghether is detremental to youre body and mind,but theese things are such money machines that no one dared to speak up about the dangers until recently,also with asbestos the industrie was huge 100 dreds of thousands of people died from it and will dies from it i have an uncle who worked with it in aushwitz it took over 30 years for it to kill him money talk bullshit you know the rest.

Please.

If it was all about what is considered high risk behavior, the Rabbis would ban smoking and might even encourage exercise and healthy eating.
In any event, I think that boxing is just not considered a very "Jewishy" activity. Neither is football and I don't know of any yeshivas that have any kind of organized football games, whereas basketball is more popular in some of the yeshivas.

In any event, I think that boxing is just not considered a very "Jewishy" activity.

Why not? There were a lot of Jewish boxers back in the day.

Boxing is OK if the boxer is a baal tshuva who's donating a portion of his winning to a kiruv group.

I heard that posting comments to failedmessiah causes similar, uh, trees.

lol

to quote bob nelson,

my friends tell me i have dain bramage but i dont know what the @#$% that @#$% is.

It would be nice if the Rabbis could say something about smoking, perhaps between puffs.

A couple of points.
First of all, I did make this point (while serving as an Orthodox rabbi) in one of my very first blog posts over 8 years ago, here

There, I distinguished, based on something I heard in the name of R. Lichtenstein, between sports where violence is incidental (basketball, e.g.) and where the point of the sport is to pummel an opponent (e.g., boxing). At the time I put football in the latter category, but I am not as convinced today. On one hand, even NFL athletes statistically live longer than average - athletes at that level are simply among the most physically fit human beings on the planet. I also think that the NFL is moving in the right direction when it comes to player safety, and I believe that the bounty scandal demonstrates that it is willing to penalize those who actively seek to injure another player.
At the same time, violent collisions are still part and parcel of football. The goal may not be to harm another player, but there is a desire to hit as hard as legally possible to separate a man from the ball. Should we distinguish between positions that are better protected by the rules - like quarterback or receiver - over the truly dangerous positions like kick returner?
I'm not sure. At this point, I would not stand by my old position - in no small part because the game is changing.

Rebbitzman: Did you suffer any ill effects from playing college in football?

I gotta tell you, I love this blog! The same usual gang of idiots take turns jerking each other off about how horrible Orthodox Jews and their rabbis are. Some of these posters seem to have no other lives other than reading and posting here. How sad.....

Scottie Boy, I'm with you. This is just deplorable gay-bashing, isn't it? To quote the late, great folklorist Alan Dundes: "the ritual aspect of football, providing as it does a socially sanctioned framework for male body contact … is a form of homosexual behavior. The unequivocal sexual symbolism of the game, as plainly evidenced in folk speech coupled with the fact that all of the participants are male, make it difficult to draw any other conclusion. Sexual acts carried out in thinly disguised symbolic form by,and directed towards, males and males only,would seem to constitute ritual homosexuality."
"Thus in the beginning of the football game, we have two sets or teams of males. By the end of the game, one of the teams is “on top,” namely the one which has “scored” most by getting into the other team’s “end zone.” The losing team, if the scoring differential is great, maybe said to have been “creamed.”

from Into the Endzone for a Touchdown: A Psychoanalytic Interpretation of American Football, by Alan Dundes (1978)

I'm surprised no one has brought up "He who [or "Whoever"] sits in a stadium spills blood."

The same usual gang of idiots take turns jerking each other off about how horrible Orthodox Jews and their rabbis are.

Well, at least we aren't doing it to kiddie porn - which, you're right, disqualifies us from being Orthodox.

Of course the governing bodies of sports have a duty to minimize risks however some sports are inherently dangerous and professional sportsmen are well aware of the risks involved. They choose however to take these risks because the rewards are so great and for many there is no other chance of becoming wealthy. Its not as if your average Giants teamplayer has turned down an internship at Goldman Sachs when choosing his career.

Who am I to tell to a professional footballer, racing driver or boxer who may earn $10 million dollars by the time he retires at 32 years of age even at the risk of his health that he should have taken a job as a slaughter man at Agriprocessors?

At least they're getting out into the fresh air and exercising instead of sitting in their basement blogging all day and turning into replicas of Jabba the Hutt.

Barry, fair points as always, but it's hard to be libertarian on this one. While both race car driving and football expose their participants to dangers, you won't see kids 12 and younger on a "mini-NASCAR" circuit (or "Pee-wee Formula One").

I am hardly alone as a parent in not wanting my kids to play football because of the danger of brain injury. wouldn't it be hypocritical of people like me to say that it's ok for poor kids?

and adult football cannot exist without the pipeline of players that starts when kids are just out of elementary school.

David Mendoza revolutionized boxing back in the late 18th century with footwork, the bob & weave and the right cross.

Well not all football causes brain damage. The problem with football is tackle football. There's a big difference in bnning all football, and banning the problemating football- tackle football. Tackle football is linked to all the issues. So to answer your overly broad query, no, we shouldn't ban football. There might be a good argument for banning tackle football.

I'd love to be the first jewish qb on the jets. I'd be a hell of a lot better than who they have now!

. . i find some of the most enjoyable blogs here are the ones with Talmudic/Torah references intersperced with a certain line of reasoning. It holds to the cause so to speak. Having taken the preamble to another level. I'd also like to see a real and authentic discussion about the Universities and Colleges, more notably the NCAA's "Enslavement Systems" and their abuses and exploitation of their student atheletes. And why so very few are willing to stand tall and oppose this penultimate system of capital earning. . . I for one would like to see a government tax/pension plan implemented to help protect these student athletes

As to whether Professional Football is Kosher? . . . the incommensurability of life should be the underlying premise from which to begin with. Then it must determined whether freedom of choice is, in part, what makes "human" life incommensurable. . . if yes. The autonomy of one's own body is essential to such consideration. If no. Then Institutions (Clubs) properitorship would take precedence. . . in addition, I'm guessing the numbers will suggest that a poor economy, coupled with a high level of uncertainty, fear and general angst results in increased levels of desperation. Desperation then becomes coercive. which means there may not be much ground as for personal choice for a great many of the atheletes involved but more ironically a dire need to find subsistence and ultimately to survive. . .

Garnel Ironheart . . . no matter what your motivation your advise is sound. light to moderate exercise is essential to good healht and our mental well being. . . but is NFL football Kosher?

"[T]he ritual aspect of football, providing as it does a socially sanctioned framework for male body contact … is a form of homosexual behavior. The unequivocal sexual symbolism of the game, as plainly evidenced in folk speech coupled with the fact that all of the participants are male, make it difficult to draw any other conclusion. Sexual acts carried out in thinly disguised symbolic form by,and directed towards, males and males only,would seem to constitute ritual homosexuality."
"Thus in the beginning of the football game, we have two sets or teams of males. By the end of the game, one of the teams is “on top,” namely the one which has “scored” most by getting into the other team’s “end zone.” The losing team, if the scoring differential is great, maybe said to have been “creamed.”

from Into the Endzone for a Touchdown: A Psychoanalytic Interpretation of American Football, by Alan Dundes (1978)

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

adam nuran . . . David Mendoza? Are there any old clippings of him, any old footage? is he realated to Mohammad Ali? there's a boxer who reshaped the sport in it's entirety!

David Mendoza? Are there any old clippings of him, any old footage? is he realated to Mohammad Ali? there's a boxer who reshaped the sport in it's entirety!

Posted by: anchell | February 04, 2013 at 01:49 PM


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Mendoza

@YL

I played football?

American Football should be banned by the frummies because of potential exposure to middle fingers and Janet Jackson's nipples.

Athletes and players of this sports know the risk of playing this intense physical game.

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