Look, We're Sorry. We Need to Talk About Football. Something Happened.


These are not mutually exclusive.


here I thought we were talking about the ethics of consuming digital media made by capitalists versus the ethics of consuming sports games made by capitalists like you brought up.


yeah but you only have so much energy and time


That’s a fair question to ask, and truly I don’t know where to draw the line on stuff like that. And I’m not even necessarily drawing a line with the NFL either, because I too was totally enraptured by the sport not too long ago. I guess the distinction I can make in my mind is that game development is not inherently destructive to humans. There are developers out there making kickass games without completely wrecking the well-being of their employees. To my knowledge, that isn’t true for football. Unless you fundamentally change the sport from its current form, it is going to continue to pulverize the brains of the athletes that play it.

And separate from that, I do think that Waypoint as a whole does a decent job of bringing up labor issues whenever applicable, whereas with NFL talk CTE discussion is rarely brought up (and never in detail). But that could just be me hearing what I want to hear and I could be totally off-base regarding that.


I hope Waypoint utilizes the Pan-Pan baseball boy strat


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That’s entirely true, but at the same time, I think they are valuable to each other. I don’t have the books in front of me right now to start referencing Foucault or anything like that, but any pursuit in ending an unethical system (up to and including revolution) benefits from an awareness of smaller, more individual power dynamics and factors. That’s what this type of introspection is about—discussing and gaining an understanding of those dynamics and factors. That’s why we’re here (or why I’m here, at least). Also because yeah, there are things I want to do individually in my life (like making art, and criticism), and this type of introspection is extremely valuable for that as well. And I’d reject the idea that I can’t pursue that end while still working to end an unethical system, no matter how pessimistic I may be about that possibility’s chances.

I think the reason a lot of us (or at least I) take issue with the “no ethical consumption under capitalism” phrase is that it is heavily reductive and non-actionable. It presents revolution as the only valid response (which I disagree with for a number of reasons rooted in how revolutions in practice treat dynamics in race/gender/class/etc.), while not considering even what said revolution should look like. That is not me saying that such a thing would be invalid (people have done good work trying to resolve the factors I just mentioned), but the reductiveness and inherent juxtaposition of the phrase reduces all of that work as well, and positions that end as automatically bound for success.


I just want to be clear that I’m not saying that Austin, Rob, and Patrick are not cognizant of the myriad problems with the NFL or that they haven’t talked about them in various venues in the past. I fully believe that they are and they have. And I actually think they probably align strongly with my distaste for the racism problems in the NFL, for the traumatic brain injuries issue, for the lack of post-career support, and so forth.

I’m not “judging” anyone for liking NFL or football or for being cool with other people enjoying it.

I’m only speaking about my feelings when I see and hear that people who honestly have helped expose me to the Left and helped push me farther that way are still buying this particular product. It bums me out. That’s all I’m saying.

Like I said, I actually do “get it” that football is fun as hell to watch. I spent plenty of my own life enjoying it, cheering it on, all while denouncing helmet designs, expressing disgust with traumatic head injury, and so forth. But eventually, about five years ago or maybe a little less, I just found myself unable to enjoy it because of these things. Maybe that’ll happen to some of you or to them eventually, or maybe not.

It’s not like these three people are the only people on the Left I know who have zero issues enjoying NFL football while still criticizing its problems.

In the sense that discussion of those games should always be couched in a statement about the problematic labor issues that created them (which Waypoint’s staff is always very good about making), I think so. Meaning that if you’re going to excitedly discuss a bunch of stuff that happened in an NFL game on a podcast (not in your personal life), it should probably be couched in a statement about the problematic issues in the NFL and how you’re not cool with them. Even if you’ve said them before on Twitter or whatever.

I think in general, there’s a question of: At what point do you need to start walking the walk? This came up with regards to RDR2 and the labor practices and whether to boycott it. It comes up with regards to enjoying the NFL and whether to boycott it for Kaep or for head injuries or what have you. I think it’s a fair question that needs some further exploration on a number of subjects important to us.


As a UK person who eschews sports fandom in my daily life, it has actually been really interesting to learn about the problems of the NFL from waypoint’s frequent football talk. It has been interesting how they framed the sport as a problematic fave.

It’s easier for me, however, as I didn’t grow up with the sport and still have no idea how it works. I recoil at most UK football talk, so I can see how you might find the waypoint sports chatter unbearable.


A bit off-topic but relevant to this episode: can someone spoil what the twist in Detective that Austin mentioned at the end of the episode is for me? I’m not gonna be able to play it but am very curious.


I dunno, I would appreciate the recognition that fanning and stanning about football is a pretty compromised position given the labor and health problems of the sport, and take that self-awareness into the next time the conversation leads down a road to self-satisfied dunking on clueless political centrists. I mean, dudes on this podcast had material connection to the industry that produces helmets that fail to prevent head trauma, even among the high schoolers that use them, it would be great to hear some level of introspection about that.


Not to put a damper on the conversation happening above, but this episode did end up with me watching today’s Eagles v Saints playoff and boy howdy has there been some QB magic on both sides of this game.


Dome Voodoo beats Big Nick Energy every day.