Every person gets to make his or her own decision about professional football.
That’s how I have come to explain (and defend) my nearly two-year boycott when it comes to reading about or watching the Kansas City Chiefs and the rest of the National Football League.
The concussion research of the last few years was the final straw for me. That came years of being turned off by the sheer amount of absurd violence involved in just a regular game of the sport, plus all of the domestic violence associated with too many of its players.
There’s clear and convincing evidence that this brutal sport is managed by owners, supported by coaches and financed by too many fans who don’t care enough about the physical and mental damage football does to so many players.
Football’s passionate backers says its pros outweigh the cons. I heartily now disagree, even as a longtime sports fan.
UPDATED: The Chiefs are in the playoffs this year — or were, until they lost 18-16 Sunday night to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Arrowhead Stadium.
I didn’t watch it and won’t have to read all the gory details about the contest.
It might be un-American, given the popularity of the sport. But it’s also liberating.
I have time for plenty of other activities rather than sitting in front of the TV on game days.
My blood pressure doesn’t go as high as when I cared whether the Chiefs won or lost.
I obviously don’t waste any money paying for parking or for overly high-priced tickets.
As for the “enjoyment” that so many people get out of watching the Chiefs play, that’s where their own personal value systems come in. They like watching men smash into each other while engaged in some admittedly difficult athletic accomplishments. I don’t anymore.
My boycott of the Chiefs and NFL comes with the recognition of other realities.
Political and civic leaders contend that Kansas City’s image and public pride swell when the team does well. I partly accept that fact, as a huge Kansas City Royals fan who paid good money to go cheer my head off at playoff games in 2014 and 2015.
I don’t mind “painting” Bartle Hall red. Or the media’s breathless coverage of the sport, which is giving much of the local audience what it wants.
But Kansas City was a growing city in much of the oh-so-many years when the Chiefs and Royals were horrible, among the worst in their sports. Society places an inflated value on the importance of sports to a city’s future.
Still, I don’t quibble with the fact that Jackson County voters more than a decade ago approved public funding for Kauffman and Arrowhead stadium updates. They were the right call — at the time — to keep sports assets beloved in this community.
Which gets to a final point: Football is not my beloved sport. I’m free to ignore the games, not care that much about the outcomes and merrily pay attention to far more important issues.
And now, with the Chiefs out of the playoffs, local fans are free to do that, too.