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If You're Mad When Fans Cheer For An Opposing Player's Injury, Grow Up

Michael Owens. Getty Images.

As we all know, Aaron Rodgers tore his achilles last night just minutes into his New York Jets debut. Since then, the internet has made a meal of those who cheered when Rodgers was helped off the field and taken from the game:

Classless! Disgusting! Monsters! 

Guess what? Moments later, those righteous saints were cheering for their guys to BURY, ANNIHILATE, and DESTROY some guy on the other team. MAIM HIM! KILL HIM! 

This is football, people. We cheer for head-on collisions between 350-pound men who, contrary to science, somehow run faster than the wind. Football fans want violence, open-field hits, sacks where the QB gets picked up and driven six yards backward before he's slammed through the turf and into the upside-down. Every year, we complain about ticky-tack flags, the pussification of the game; we lament rule changes, how they're protecting quarterbacks too much, you can't hit anyone anymore, blah blah blah. Troglodytes from Pittsburgh to Phoenix will whine away a Monday following some new-rule roughing the passer call that cost their team the game. "It's not football anymore. Back in my day…" 

Yeah, back in your day, Troy Aikman had his brain blended to baby food twice a week—once in practice, once on Sunday. And now, the league has cracked down on defenseless receiver hits, blindside blocks, leading with your helmet, and targeting quarterbacks in an effort to minimize injuries. And we can't stand it. 

In an ideal world, we could watch these enormous, muscle-bound, athletic freaks crash into each other for an hour and walk home without a scratch. But this is earth, where the laws of physics dictate that the human body is vulnerable to the force and power exerted during four quarters of tackle football. Of course we shouldn't cheer when an opposing player is removed from the game due to injury. But realistically, it's only an eyelash lower on the ethics scale than rooting for someone to get body-slammed into last week, then expect them to miraculously bounce back up and run to the huddle in a straight line thanks to the wafer-thin padding he wears.

It's like daring your buddy to jump into a bear pit at the zoo, then getting mad at the other zoo visitors for taking pictures when he gets his face eaten off. We're all barbarians. Before we shame those who cheer for the inevitable medical consequences of putting 24 gladiators in a ring together, let's realize that we all secretly love the sport for how rough it is.