Prof. Michael Nelson Explains How Football Reflects the Nation America Has Become

Football was not always the game it is today, explains Rhodes Political Science Professor Michael Nelson in the essay “America’s Game.” The essay is published in the Winter 2013/2014 issue of the Claremont Review of Books, a literary publication written by leading scholars and critics.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, there were calls for football to be abolished, with some colleges actually eliminating it, and President Roosevelt telling summoned delegates from Harvard, Princeton, and Yale in 1905 that “football is on trial.”

In the essay, Nelson goes on to tell how the game of football changed and became the game it is today embodying “the very virtues Theodore Roosevelt was so eager to promote by saving football from itself a century ago.” He also addresses current controversies such as compensation for college players, long-term health dangers to players, and the team name "Washington Redskins."