I say, ‘Screw football’

Saturday is the highest rite of devotion to what some call the “sacred lozenge.”

For those unaware of periodic commuter jams around the U on some Friday and Saturday nights, this will be our last and most prolific.

Officials plan to monitor volume levels on behalf of local residents with the quaint notion that institutions of higher learning ought to obey the same noise ordinances as fraternities. I don’t foresee anyone taking to the field and asking politely to keep it down, however.

One year ago, after Utah beat BYU in a football match, I burst into the home of fellow Utah fans to spread the good news. “We won!” I shouted.

“Oh, we don’t like football,” they replied indifferently.

Then it dawned on me; I don’t like football either, so why was I excited about the win? I should’ve stuck to an ideal I’ve had since watching a schoolmate twist his ankle in eighth grade.

Screw football.

Utah students who don’t enjoy this sexist, Title IX-bending violent excuse for a game, have a unique opportunity to shun it this year. We’re almost certainly going to win. The greatest sport analysts in the world, otherwise known as gamblers, even put money on a 21-point Utah victory.

Thus football-haters can ignore the game without accusations of being disinterested losers. We can say with full authority, “I don’t care.”

But one might wonder-does sexism and violence really characterize football? Well, apart from the obvious institutional and community attention we give to all-male, body-smashing teams, I think the answer is “yes.”

Consider, for example, Colorado’s recruiting program that featured escort services, strippers and booze. The coach, defending the team and its practices, said that a former female kicker who accused the team of harassment wasn’t just a girl, “she was terrible.” Seven charges of rape, often group rape, have been made against members of the team.

Granted, this might seem like an exceptional case, but I bet you can think of a team with players who don’t seem to understand the meaning of rape. Perhaps a team we’re playing on Saturday?

This sort of activity is far too common, and relative to other violence against women, crimes by athletes often aren’t prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Thus I view football as both institutionally and structurally sexist. One could correctly point out that football is actually a money-making game and a game that can unite the community in school spirit. I also acknowledge Utah’s superior ranking this year, but none of this excuses football for being the game it is.

Yes, it makes money to fund other sports, but I’m not advocating administrators should do anything differently. Perhaps they have a duty to capitalize on the game. What I would like to see is a popular attitude shift.

We’ve often had outstanding basketball teams. In particular, I recall our Sweet 16 performance in women’s basketball a couple of years ago. Even with this incredible record, the women’s team was unable to approach men’s basketball audience attendance, let alone the sparsest football showings in our worst seasons.

Or, for example, the gymnastics team that was still ranked sixth for women, even after suffering recent and previously unimaginable home losses.

The best way to beat a school that produces sexist medical students is to entirely abandon notions of male superiority and the glorification of male aggression.

Billboards about the team say, “You ain’t seen nothing yet.” I, for one, intend to keep it that way.

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