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Why sure. You might have noticed that football – and hockey – are extremely violent. Most of the people who play them aren’t violent off-field, but some are.

On-field brawls are common, as at the Super Bowl, when officials had to keep breaking up fights.

Fans and viewers barely notice. It’s structural to the game, college and professional.


You don’t have to be the University of Miami – America’s best-known Thug U – to have thuggish people on your team, and it shouldn’t be a big deal when this or that commentator notices the thug-factor, especially when it begins to produce a crime-wave in your community.

As it has at the University of Montana, where for years now its football team has really been acting up. The latest thing is a lot of rape cases, and when a member of the board of trustees stated the obvious about them –

“The university has recruited thugs for its football team and this thuggery has got to stop.”

– he got in all kinds of trouble, with the school and fans issuing indignant denials that the team is thuggish.

But – you know – a lot of football teams are thuggish. Some of the best – the winningest – are on the thuggish side.

What do we gain by denying that even well-bred university lacrosse players can be thuggish? A lot of these university sports guys drink and drug too much, are treated like royalty, etc., etc. It’s just not a good situation. It’s a situation that can create mayhem.

Rather than attacking messengers like Pat Williams, communities like Missoula should look a bit more squarely at how they recruit and treat athletes. That they have created an ongoing problem is a (you should excuse the term, given what we’re finding out about long-term health outcomes for football players) no-brainer.

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