Jadeveon Clowney’s Hit and The Reality of Sports Violence

Perhaps you weren’t watching the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day.

Perhaps you missed the stellar matchup between South Carolina and Michigan, two top-25 ranked and well coached college football teams.

And perhaps you missed the tackle, forced fumble, and fumble recovery sequence engineered by South Carolina super-sophomore Jadeveon Clowney.  If so, you may watch below (courtesy of ESPN).  But be careful, the images you are about to see are violent and bone-chilling.

As you can imagine, the reactions to this violent act were ones of shock, dismay, horror, and sadness. Especially since football leagues are working diligently to ensure player safety, a highlight like this would never be replayed, embedded into blogs, or spread around social media like a viral video phenomenon.

Oh, wait…nevermind, it has been replayed, embedded into blogs, or spread around social media like a viral video phenomenon.

The official youtube video from ESPN already has over 1,000,000 views.  That’s more than the president’s official “fiscal cliff” video speech. That’s more than the president’s election day celebration video.

The same video has over 600,000 views here. 45,000 views here. 8,000 hits here.

If you are counting, that is somewhere north of 1,653,000 total views in just over 24 hours. That’s almost a Gangnam Style pace of viewership.

It’s a good thing that commentators did not give the act of violence any undue attention or praise.  Listen to what former NFL head coach and ESPN analyst Jon Gruden had to say during the broadcast:

“Clowney says I’ll just take care of business right here. You give me this long to catch my breath and I’ll come off the ball and rock you and get it right back for our offense.”

Oh, wait.  That comment was in favor of such an attack.  And he added this bit of amazed appreciation for Clowney’s demonstration of brute strength:

“Not many guys can get off the ball and rock people like Clowney.”

Yes.  I bet that piece of highlight reel and commentary package will do much to curb violence in football . . . on opposite day.

As I have previously blogged about (here and here) Americans have a love affair with sports and a love/hate affair with sports violence.  We wish that football could be violence free, but collectively suspect that we would not watch much of it if it was. Afterall, how many people purchase tickets to the US Professional Flag and Touch Football League.

So, it makes sense that, even despite our public outcry at the real danger of head trauma due to concussions and such, we still read sports blogs like:

Jack Johnson was correct in his song, “Cookie Jar.”  He said this of our current social situation (no matter the situation):

It was you it was me it was every man
We’ve all got the blood on our hands
We only receive what we demand
And if we want hell then hells what well have

As plays like the one where Clowney tackles the Michigan running back occur and as American sports writers highlight the hit and as fans view the youtube clips, we all willingly take on the problem of rising medical needs for football players.

About Doug Hankins

Although not a Christian in his youth, Doug came to believe in Jesus during his teenage years. When not playing sports or pastoring Doug is probably spending time with his wife, reading a good book, or drinking some hot tea. Doug's first book Dawson Trotman: In His Own Words is available wherever books are sold. You can follow Doug on twitter.
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