Why fans still flock to the NFL

October 2, 2014

For all the outrage about the NFL’s domestic violence problem, television ratings for the league are up almost across the board. Don’t viewers care about players’ off-field behavior?

To an extent, NFL fans are willing to turn a blind eye to the league’s problems because, well, they just plain love watching football. But part of the disconnect also lies in Americans’ actual attitudes about corporal punishment—behavior which led to Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson being suspended for allegedly beating his 4-year-old son with a switch.

The results of a Reuters/Ipsos poll released yesterday show that better than two-thirds of respondents believe that spanking children is OK . Better than one-third of those polled think that corporal punishment is acceptable at school—”as long as it isn’t excessive.”

Although the prevalence of hitting children is declining—fewer than half of respondents admitted to doling out corporal punishment, even though more than three-quarters reported receiving it as a child—general disapproval of the practice isn’t as widespread as one might think.

The NFL is thriving, and part of the reason appears to be that Americans’ views about corporal punishment are more permissive than a vocal minority might like to admit.



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Why is it up to the NFL to be judge, jury, and executioner? Understood, a lot of folks question the integrity of the American judicial system, not the least of whom is me. But maybe, just maybe, we should let the courts attempt to establish whether an actual crime was committed, as well as the extent of the crime, before we go off lynching people on our own? Expecting big business to perform well as our primary enforcer of morality is a really ridiculous concept. They aren’t up to the task, and that should surprise nobody.

Posted by EtaMeer | Report as abusive

The cruelty of our society is such that small pains and the suffering of others are seen as inconsequential. Injustice is so rampant that no one can take seriously the fringe rantings of our media who continue to lay the guilt trip on us. We know this is another manipulation, another distraction. In the past few weeks congress failed to pass a bill for campaign reform that would have worked to take money out of politics. The other day the US signed an extented security agreement with afghanistan to keep american troops there past 2014. These were hardly noticed by our media, yet what did capture their attention was some very unimportant individual failings by people who also happened to be football players. This in itself is an example of extreme cruelty by the press. To ignore the important and make mountains out of sideshows of only minimal importance. This is violence against the minds of the american people, it is torture of the cruelest type. It is mind torture design to make the people victims of their corrupt and evil leaders. Screw football, who cares!

Posted by brotherkenny4 | Report as abusive

I’m disappointed. I was hoping the article would actually explain what mechanism allows so many people to watch 2 1/2 hours worth of commercials and 10 minutes of actual sports action.

Posted by anarcurt | Report as abusive

We watch professional football because it provides us a comfortable, safe, and mindless occupation. It has nothing to do with approving or disapproving of anything about the scandals. That’s the whole point of watching … it allows us to completely turn off.

This is the value of professional football for us. This is why we subsidize with public money through our state and community college systems. This is why we subsidize it with our municipal taxes which pay the mortgages on the stadiums.

Posted by DonKrieger | Report as abusive