Watching the NFL Meat Being Made

In the third quarter of Thursday night’s matchup between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears, Danny Trevathan delivered a dirty hit on a defenseless receiver, Davante Adams. Video of the collision is disturbing, as Adams’ mouthguard pops up above the collapsing players.

Other players on the field immediately knew that Adams was seriously injured, and they waved for the medical team to come treat him. An eerie silence fell across the stadium. Ben Moser observed:

Collectively, fans experienced a mix of emotions similar to that felt when meat-eaters are exposed to those undercover videos from inside slaughterhouses. In the back of our minds, most of us are somewhat aware that animals endure poor living conditions and torture before arriving on our plates. Seeing it happen evokes guilt that we are usually able to suppress.

Similarly, football fans know that the sport is dangerous and detrimental to the health of those who play it. But we are made uncomfortable when evidence of that detriment is made so painfully obvious.

Part of that discomfort, at least for me, is knowledge of our own hypocrisy. By watching football, or consuming meat, we are perpetuating systems of cruelty. Boycotting can feel too small, and social pressures make relapse easy; but something must be done about both of these industries.

The brutal hit on Adams merely brought to light what we are comfortable ignoring the rest of the season.


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