From Chapter 2, How Postmodernism Explains Football

     ‘Almost from the beginning, the game’s development was characterized by raging controversy at the same time its popularity and media interest were soaring. Its rapid growth was accompanied by intense criticism and pressure to abolish it from schools. Analysis such as that of influential sociologist and economist Thorstein Veblen declared adult interest in football and other sports to be a sign of “arrested spiritual development.” He observed in his 1899 classic The Theory of the Leisure Class that “chicane, falsehood, browbeating, hold a well-secured place” in the game. So did savagery, mangled bodies, blood, and gore. At least eighteen deaths and hundreds of serious injuries were reported during the 1905 season alone. Earliest films of games show the players mostly massed together and slamming into each other over and over. Headlines such as “Killed in A Football Game,” “Mortally Hurt at Practice,” “Boy Tackled Hard in Football Game; Dies Soon After,” “Will Lose an Eye,” “Football Captain Killed,” and “Rib Driven Into Heart” were common. In cartoons of the period, a skeleton with a football stands in a field littered with dead bodies; the Grim Reaper looks down from the goalposts as players maim each other.’

How Postmodernism Explains Football and Football Explains Postmodernism © Robert L. Kerr 2015

And Football Explains Postmodernism: The Billy Clyde Conundrum