It’s the biggest day of the year for you football fans: Super Bowl Sunday. You’re geared up with food, giant TVs and jerseys. You know the stats of your team and which players are likely to pull your team to a win, but a lot of you don’t know the more depressing stats behind your beloved day. So as a non-football fan, I’m here to rain on the parade. Umbrellas ready? Good, lets get started.
Over 600 million chickens are killed to supply the 1.25 billion chicken wings that will be consumed today. Yeah, that’s just for one day. ONE DAY. Even if you happily eat meat, that’s still a shocking statistic. Think about the horrible conditions those chickens went through to make it to your plate. If that’s not enough, think of the approximately 19 percent of US households with children living in food poverty. Couldn’t that food go to a better cause?
And while you’re sitting on the couch eating your chicken wings, girls as young as 11 are being sold for sex at one of the biggest sex trafficking events in the nation. Prior to the day, the number of commercial sex ads containing the words “Super Bowl” increases by up to 1,000. For the 2010 Miami Super Bowl, the Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported that 10,000 prostitutes were brought to the city to be sold at the event. To combat the growing problem, the FBI is increasing its efforts. So what does that mean? Your tax dollars are working to combat sex trafficking at an event you support. Just something to think about.
Finally, think about your beloved players. It’s not their fault, right? They’re putting their hearts and souls into training for and playing the game that you love to watch. And that’s all true, but if you really love them, care about their health. One-third of professional football players experience cognitive issues earlier than the general population and almost all of those cognitive issues stem from prior concussions. Making it even worse, many players don’t sit out after sustaining a concussion; they keep on playing for the fans. As you gear up to watch Super Bowl 50, three Panthers players and 10 Broncos players are listed on injury rosters with injuries ranging from knee and shoulder injuries to ankle and back injuries. But these players are listed as “probable” on the injury rosters, meaning that they’ll probably be taking the field and risking the health of their bodies.
Okay, so what can you do? You’re just innocently eating your wings and yelling at your players to go faster and harder.
You can think about what you’re really supporting. Sure, you’re supporting camaraderie, hard work and drive. But you’re also supporting the mass, unnecessary, indulgent slaughter of chickens. You’re supporting sex-trafficking — albeit indirectly — but you’re part of the demand for the scale and broadcasting of the event. Finally, you’re supporting a sport that results in horrible injuries for the players later in life; you’re supporting a ruthless game that requires players to push through rather than heal.
What should you support? Running is a pretty solid sport. The closest we get to mass slaughter is the mass slaughter of bananas on race days. We traffic sponsors for our free bagels, tech shirts and bibs. And we have started to listen to the “sit out when injured” mantra preached by our Runner’s World magazines and physical therapists; we have our foam rollers now. But if you’ve read the blog before, I’m totally bias on which sport to support.
Happy Super Bowl Sunday!