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Prayer After Super Bowl LI

Eternal One,

Once again much of the world you created rejoiced in the face of evil. Thousands spent billions to watch and millions more tuned in to the mayhem of Super Bowl LI.

They rave about how exciting the game was!

  • It mattered not that many on the field were able to play only with the help of Toradol or other dangerous drugs to mask their pain.
  • It mattered not that so many past players have committed suicide, died young, or live with life-ruining dementia.

We watched anyway!

Some claim: “They knew the risks, and they chose to play.

  • Would they have known the risks if the first time they walked on a field, their parents and they had to sign a declaration that told the truth:

“Playing this game is liable to shorten your life or condemn you to live each day with pain?”

  • Would they have accepted the risk if we had not glamorized football and conditioned players, from when they were in the cradle, to worship at football’s altar.

When we study ancient history, we read of gladiatorial festivals and ask: “How could civilized society allow such carnage in the name of entertainment?”

When, O God, will we ask the same question about American football?

How long, O God?

  • How long will we celebrate and delight in such havoc to enrich owners, sponsors, TV networks and gamblers?
  • How long will we deny the price our entertainment exacts?

Many moral or religious leaders have turned a blind eye!

They watch, wear game jerseys and make bets on the outcome with others consecrated to work for a more just, caring and compassionate society.

Where, Eternal One, is the compassion for these former NFL players who have committed suicide?

They are not just statistics. They were real people:

Where also, O God, is our concern for the families of dead players found on post mortem to have Chronic Traumatic Brain Damage?

They are not just statistics! They are real people:

And where, O God, we must ask, is our compassion for those who still walk this earth doomed to lives of pain and suffering from the traumatic brain damage their doctors have diagnosed?

They are not just statistics! They are real people:

Some of these names, O God, were well known to even the casual football observer. Only diehard fans knew the names of others.

No matter! We must ask:

  • Did they die or do they suffer in vain?
  • Can we not learn the lesson of their misfortune?
  • As players grow bigger, stronger and faster, will not future casualty lists not multiply much more rapidly?

Open our eyes, Eternal One! Remove our blindness! Help us to see at last that the glory, the fame and the riches football brings to the few are just not worth the terrible price they exact from our pockets but, more importantly, from our souls!

Amen

 

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