You’re might be aware of the H.G Bissinger book Friday Night Lights, which spawned both a movie and a TV series, about a high school American Football team from the small Texas town of Odessa called the Permian Panthers. The book has become one of the most highly regarded in the genre of sports journalism, an explosive expose of the dark side of gridiron football and the conservative nature of the American south.
It’s easy to look at American Football, the NFL and Friday Night Lights as examples of an extreme but unique sporting culture, which can be safely judged by those on the other side of the pond. I have occasionally found that viewpoint being expressed by some. After all, in our code of association football, we don’t have high profile players running dog fighting rings, teams under scrutiny for running “bounty” systems of rewards for injuring opposing players, or paedophilia being covered up to try and maintain a college football program (or at least, I sincerely hope so).
But there are three main issues that caught my eye in reading Friday Night Lights that are problems over here, in England, in Ireland, on the continent. Through the reading of Friday Night Lights, the solutions that it offers, we can find an interesting “compare and contrast” with the situation of football here. While I read this book, I found myself becoming more and more shocked about what went on in this sports program, until I realised that such pitfalls and problems occur right here. As such, my discussion of those three problems should not be seen as a direct correlation between Friday Night Lights and association football, but more an inspiration based on that book that prompted me to write the following.
To read the rest of this guest post, click here to go to Lovely Left Foot.
NFB also took part in this week’s Debatable Decisions for the EPL.