The Corner

Head Bangers

Yesterday morning, I went to the House Judiciary Committee’s hearing on head injuries in the NFL. I have mixed views about this whole thing. On the one hand, the more time John Conyers and his friends devote to matters such as this, the less time they’ll spend on socialized medicine and global warming. On the other hand, is this a federal issue?

Of course it’s not. What we’re now seeing, however, may be the tip of the spear in a war on football. If you don’t believe me, check out Malcom Gladwell’s latest article in The New Yorker, which compares the “suffering and destruction” in dogfighting to injuries in football. “We no longer find that kind of transaction morally acceptable in a sport,” he wrote. So football = dogfighting.

Also, the NFL = tobacco companies. Here’s Rep. Linda Sanchez, Democrat of California, on an NFL-sponsored study about cognitive decline in retired players:

“Hey, why don’t we let tobacco companies determine whether smoking is bad for your health or not?” said Representative Linda T. Sanchez, Democrat of California and a member of the Judiciary Committee. “It’s a very appropriate metaphor.”

There are of course genuine concerns about the health and safety of football players at all levels, from the pros to youth leagues. But does the sport require the intervention of Congress? This isn’t a close call.

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.