FOOTBALL

I’m guessing it’s a publicist’s dream! The pub date for Steve Almond’s new book popping up right in the middle of the most recent NFL scandals. AGAINST FOOTBALL: ONE FAN’S RELUCTANT MANIFESTO uncovers Almond’s struggle to hold on to his lifelong love of the game, (and of the Oakland Raiders,)  as he keeps bumping up against the realities of football and its fans in our culture.

From 9-year-olds playing in Miami, where poor people look to football as a means to escape poverty… to high school players who compromise- and sometimes lose- their lives by submitting to repeated physical violence… to colleges where spending and attention  on football far outstrip academics… to the tax-exempt and profit- driven professional games which leave wealthy retired players with non-functioning brains …Almond has done his research, which is interspersed with his personal recollections of his own football watching addiction and the way it serves as a basis for male bonding.  Along the way, he also touches on the ugly sides of the football culture with news reports of racism, homophobia, and (always) violence. He deepens the connections between football and culture, by recalling his own macho encounters with his two brothers.

Almond apologizes repeatedly to football fans, as he continues his reality check. He suggests a few practical steps, solicits honest conversation, and offers a forum at  www.againstfootball.org

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