May 20th Sunday
So there’s a football “controversy” “rocking” Japan, in so much as a football controversy could ever rock a country that gives approximately no damns about football as a sport or concept.
Apparently, some defensive end for a college team here laid a cheap hit on the other team’s quarterback to start off a game, knocked him out of the game, and it somehow exploded into a huge controversy that all the news shows are covering the hell out of for some reason (probably because it’s a slow news week).
I played football for three years in high school. I wasn’t particularly good, mind you, but I played and know the rules and know how football works. Most of the commentators on TV don’t, leading to rather huge national TV programs getting the rules for the sport wrong and unintentionally misinforming the viewing public in the process.
Headhunting is wrong and is rightfully against the rules of football and what the kid did (with or without prompting from his coaches) is wrong. At the same time, football is a violent sport at its base and taking a QB to the ground is probably about as malicious an act as hurling a pitch at the opposing batter is in baseball, that is to say, while it sucks, it is a relatively common practice in the sport.
How will this “scandal” affect the sport of football in Japan going forward? It’ll probably help it more than anything. Japan, despite having a strong relationship with the American armed forces and such, never really took to football like it did baseball or soccer. Any exposure, even negative stories like this one, is probably only going to serve to boost the image of football in the island nation, concussion issues et al. After all, if I’ve learned anything from years of watching Japanese people get knee-walking drunk and pass out on the streets, it’s that Japan cares not for cranial health.