Though many of these points have been made in greater detail elsewhere, Almond has a knack for synthesizing the pertinent arguments against football into a single coherent plea. His knowledgeable diatribe about the game’s savagery is followed by an equally convincing indictment of the tax-exempt status of the NFL’s league office—a perch from which league boss Roger Goodell draws a $40-plus-million annual compensation package—and the sweetheart stadium-funding deals extended to multimillionaire team owners. Seven dollars out of every $10 spent on recent NFL stadium construction has come from taxpayers, says Almond, citing the findings of Judith Grant Long, a Harvard urban planning professor.
He also goes after the game’s macho culture. Almond rightly laments the none-too-warm greeting that some in the NFL extended to the St. Louis Rams’ Michael Sam, the league’s first openly gay player. After a stellar college career, Sam was the subject of much hand-wringing on the part of league players and coaches, some of whom suggested that the NFL wasn’t the ideal place for him: “It was one of those media narratives in which the alleged subject (Michael Sam: Gay Guy in Shoulder Pads) was much less interesting than the actual subject: A Workplace Exists in America, Circa 2014, in Which the Prospect of Accommodating a Single Openly Gay Employee Is Enough to Induce Panic.”
This being a manifesto, there are a few moments when Almond sounds like a self-righteous crank.