SPORTS IDOLATRY? Has America Made Football Its God?

Written by Candace Hardin on September 16, 2014

Football season has come again, and for some, life once again has meaning. Society today puts more value on college and pro football games than any other diversion available.

It seems that athletics and the participation thereof is likened to baptism. It seems to cover a multitude of sins.

I realize I am dabbling in heresy as I write this article, but I will endeavor to make my point and ask the pertinent question:

Has American society made football its god?

It seems to me that it has become more than just a game.

It still has the elements that make team sports desirable, such a team work, sportsmanship, camaraderie and a healthy body, yet it is a sultry siren that occupies the majority of the average Joe and Sally’s time.

The scandals involving professional athletes are too numerous to count here, so let’s take a recent incident and parse it out.

Ray Rice was caught on tape slapping his fiancé senseless in an elevator. This kind of behavior is intolerable. He has been indefinitely suspended by the NFL as punishment for this unbecoming conduct. He plans to appeal this decision.

His fiancé has since become his wife, and has blamed the media for “ruining their lives.”

This might be true, as she has now sold herself in marriage to an abusive, yet wealthy professional athlete, who may or may not be able to provide the income she was hoping to share.

With the right group of lawyers, and pressure from football fans, Rice may be able to restore his career. The bottom line being that games and those who play them are often judged by different standards than others, and a large man dragging an unconscious woman out of an elevator is just a hiccup, a day in the life, so to speak.

If the woman in question provoked him to this kind of anger, why did he not just walk away from her? What kind of man would want his future children to see their parents conducting themselves in such a manner?

When Chris Brown violently abused Rhianna almost to the point of death, his career spiraled and he has yet to really make it back to where he was prior to the incident. He was immediately stripped of financial marketing contracts and other income producing opportunities. His talent was never a factor, as the outrage of domestic abuse clung to him like a bad odor. He cannot give an interview without the question of that occurrence coming up. To which his outrage is often presented yet again, showing that despite anger management classes, he still has difficulty controlling his behavior.

Football dominates the conversation in everyday life, at the office, at social gatherings and in homes.

Even our language is liberally sprinkled with football idioms, such as, “he dropped the ball,” “get your head in the game,” or my least favorite, “we need a game plan.”

If football were sugar, about ninety four percent of Americans would be in a diabetic coma for four to six months out of the year.

What if people focused that kind of energy on following their respective religions? What kind of place would the world be?

What if that kind of energy was devoted to medical research? What could be accomplished?

What if that devotion was spent on quality time with loved ones?

It kind of boggles the mind to think about it.

It seems that in today’s world of stress and disappointment, football has taken the place of all other things. It has become the valium of modern society. It has replaced all other forms of social contact and lessened our humanity.

It most definitely has become a false idol.



Candace Hardin
Candace Hardin resides in Atlanta, Georgia. She is fluent in Spanish and a student of Latin and history. She is a columnist on and has a blog, Originally from North Carolina, her writing and beliefs have been heavily influenced by the Appalachian culture and tradition.