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American Football Sociology

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If American Football is an art, then its athletes paint with blood. This should surprise no one; the gridiron plays host to modernity’s most violent sport. In this unforgiving environment, it is all to common for former stars to flare out with career-ending injuries. As I kicked off my research on the National Football League (NFL), I intended to report on these injuries.

With a premise on my mind and a paper in my sights, I headed to JumboSearch to begin my investigation. I punched in an adequately vague search term (football injury) and was directed to League of Denial, a book exploring the link between the NFL and brain damage. I expected it would feed my initial premise, and that I would use it as evidence of football’s mental toll. But, as I skimmed through the chapters, I
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One author argued that football was a manifestation of humanity’s primal bloodlust; another stressed that brutish play preserved the Machismo ideal. All the books, however, seemed to draw a common conclusion: football’s tolerance for ferocity was systemic.

I had a hunch that this culture of violence was far-reaching, but I needed specific evidence to prove it. To explore society’s role, I returned to JumboSearch and tracked down sources beyond the Tisch Stacks. I read into the bounty scandal that rocked the NFL, and tracked down initial reports and policy statements issued in response by League officials.

Sports journalists from across the media spectrum had reacted to the Saints’ bounty scandal in a unified voice. Through JumboSearch, I dredged up their consensus: the New Orleans Saints had breached the ‘bounty-rule,’ a Constitutional clause that outlawed targeted, incentivized violence. In one report, the ‘bounty-rule’ supposedly outlined in the League Constitution was lifted verbatim from a policy piece I had read earlier. Using that piece as my guide, I scoured the Constitution for the ‘bounty-rule’. It did not
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