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Wpg Free Press: Choosing the violence you wish to watch

February 26, 2015 — 

Winnipeg Free Press columnist Gary Lawless recently wrote an article about how technology and medical science will soon make it clear to sports fans that some sports perniciously and inarguably harming athletes. Sports fans will face an ethical choice: continue watching someone suffer brain injuries, or change the channel.

Arthur Schafer, Philosophy professor and director of the U of M’s Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics, provided his thoughts:

“In a minimally decent world, what would we do? What we would do is make the sport safer. Who would knowingly put their brain at risk? It’s early death, it’s dementia and it’s also the death of who you are at an early age. Maybe monstrous acts- murder, suicide, drug addiction and alcoholism to cope with an intolerable life. The problem with sports it that the benefits are front-loaded. You get the thrill, excitement, wealth and fame that all come at the beginning and the sad lonely desperate, the long process of dying come decades later. But until there is a cure, and there is no cure or treatment in prospect at the moment, expect stopping hitting the wall and damaging your brain. But this test may be too late for players, and it may not be right for all of the players.

“In the end the only thing that really makes sense is to change the sport so that people can play it at every level, from amateur to professional without a substantial risk of a dire brain illness.”



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