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There’s something festive about the NFL draft, the way it’s somewhere between a graduation and the prom. I love seeing my favorite college players break into the next level with their friends and family cheering for them. It’s a dream come true, right? Plus, I get to keep watching them play.

But, for me, there are questions that surface during the draft. Does someone born and raised in Texas really want to experience years of Minnesota winters? Do any players have qualms about playing for teams with old-timey, racist mascots? How many of these guys have a degree or will ever have a degree?

Despite the happy smiles and flashy suits, the draft isn’t about the players. It’s about teams filling out rosters with guys who have the right stats, height, and weight. The players’ preferences are secondary as long as they want to play in the NFL. Someone is always ready to counter any complaint with the reminder that these men know what they are in for and are paid handsomely to do it.

Conversations about the problems in football culture usually involve how women are hurt, and objectification of women is encouraged. I’m glad we’re having those conversations. Yet the objectification of players themselves, and the damage it does to them, is rarely talked about.

Objectification is generally framed as a sexual thing, but treating someone like an object isn’t inherently about sex. Football players are treated like commodities – they are ranked, priced, and ultimately replaceable, no matter how popular or remarkable they are.

There are a few factors in football culture that contribute to the objectification of players. The huge sums of money on the line is definitely part of it; the NFL and owners want teams to keep them rich, and it can be hard to look at people as people when their bodies are tied to your income. But we can’t just pin this on the big, bad capitalists. The NFL’s profits keep growing because fans keep watching. Americans love football the way the NFL delivers it.

When I watch on Sunday, the players always seem fine. Of course, they’re fine. They’re living the dream, making a choice, living up to their talent, being an inspiration. And then a big hit comes and I’m standing and screaming at the screen. For a second, I don’t give a sh*t whether the guy crumpled on the field is okay. It’s not something I’m proud of.

Fans can have the tendency to treat players like they’re not fully human when they’re injured. Once the fans who supposedly adore and support you assume you don’t hurt like everyone else, you’re in for a bad time. Especially when these same people are the ones driving profits for the organization you work for.

Part of the reason why fans expect players to just shake it off is because players have similar expectations of themselves. They get hit for a living; those who can’t cope probably choose to do something safer. There’s also maintaining the masculine standard that strong, tough guys don’t get hurt, not really. Not to mention that while most people don’t want to see someone hurt on TV, even more people don’t want to see their team lose games. We never love and respect a player as much as when he plays through an injury, even, or especially, if it’s bad for him.

Unfortunately, I suspect there is also a racial element in the perception that football players don’t hurt as much as non-players. While Blacks make up about 12.6% of the U.S. population, they make up about 68% of NFL players. Studies show that people of various backgrounds believe that Blacks, especially Black men, feel less pain than others. Football culture does little to dispel this. After all, being called a “machine” or a “beast” is a complement.

Of course, data and personal accounts show that players are getting hurt, badly, and the damage can be cumulative. In fact, you don’t need to even play a long time to be permanently injured. High school players are nearly twice as likely as college players to have concussions.

The attention being paid to high schoolers is also becoming serious. There are the rankings, recruiting, and colleges are paying big money (not to the players themselves) to have successful teams. Once we take away the big salary and big chunk of life experience, are we still okay saying these players made their choices and should suck it up and face the consequences?

We need to acknowledge that when playing in the NFL is the hope and dream of young players how we treat NFL players will have an impact. If our expectation is that professional players only exist to entertain us, and can be discarded when the sport catches up to them, we are teaching young players that it is their job to be entertaining and to power through pain to their own detriment.

Professional football players help shape our vision of masculinity, that’s why it matters to see them participate in domestic violence awareness or play with kids. So when we say that their pain is bought and paid for, that it is required for men not to hurt, that men can be ranked by numbers and their worth can be shown in dollars, it is a disservice to us all.

Football

Why watch college football?

It’s odd that given a choice between the best pro-athletes and amateurs, one would choose amateurs.

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It’s odd that given a choice between the best pro-athletes and amateurs, one would choose amateurs. Most college football players are not pro-level talent, and the older you get, the more it dawns on you that you are watching people not old enough to drink hit each other. So when the weekend rolls around, why watch football on Saturday instead of/in addition to Sunday?

For one, the game itself is different at the college level. The rules are somewhat different, like only needing one foot in bounds to make a catch, having wide-ass hash marks (20 ft. wider than the NFL), the clock stops to reset the chains on first down, and no sudden death overtime to name a few. But no one cheers for the rules. It’s actually the varied level of talent and skill sets that make college football fun.

Most pro offenses have a pocket passer who occasionally scrambles when a play falls apart, and defenses are tailored to that type of offense. College football, in contrast, is madness and chaos. Sometimes a team has a quarterback whose biggest strength is not throwing. I’ve seen a college quarterback punt. Coaches still have preferred offense styles, but they need to get creative with the talent they have in order to be successful. Sometimes success looks really weird, and that is awesome.

The game becomes something else when you don’t always have the biggest, strongest, most talented guys playing against each other. The variety of offenses, how that affects defensive play, the way anything can happen, adds to the experience of watching college ball. No team is safe, especially in this upset-prone year. For example, (at the time) unbeaten number two Ohio State lost to unranked Penn State. Ohio State is still the better team, but some Angels in the Outfield shit went down.

This brings me to my next point. Take a look at what happens after Penn State wins the game. As a reminder, this was not after a bowl game or a championship game.

Sure, spectators get pretty hyped up at NFL games, but it’s different. I don’t think I’ve ever seen people cry at NFL games, and you sure as hell can’t rush the field. There are no student tickets, no marching bands, and no weird trophies for rivalry matches in the NFL. In college football, it’s like everyone has agreed to keep a strange, old patchwork of random crap we’ve liked since the late-1800s (apparently that includes pig statutes, skillets, and long lineages of various dogs) and engage in something akin to group hysteria once a week. That’s called tradition, folks.

Another part of tradition is that the teams don’t move. Notre Dame football will never move to L.A. to get more money. There is something about trying to maintain an institution and style of play for over a hundred years in the same place that appeals to people. I would argue especially in America since we’re still a young country compared to the rest of the world.

I’ll let Stephen Fry explain some of this wonderful ridiculousness:

Okay, so if you’re newish to college football who should you watch?

If you’re interested in following a team that will have a shot at the National Championship, you have a few options. The Alabama Crimson Tide has been ranked number one for several weeks running for good reason. While they’re not the flashiest team, they get ‘er done. The Michigan Wolverines are ranked number two with one of the best defenses in college football. For the ACC I’m skipping over number three Clemson to tell you to follow number five Louisville because they’re more fun to watch. (You wanna fight about it, Clemson?!) The Cinderella story in the rankings is number four Washington; a team that historically has been overshadowed by the Oregon Ducks, but who beat their asses with a dynamic offense and solid defense.

Honestly though, the National Championship isn’t why people love college football. Most fans are happy if their team gets into a bowl game and wins their rivalry games. If you want to see college football at it’s peak, I’d actually recommend setting aside November 26th for some intense viewing. There’s Alabama vs. Auburn, Florida vs. Florida State, Notre Dame vs. USC, and many more great rivalries. Of course, there’s also Michigan vs. Ohio State, which ESPN has ranked as one of the greatest rivalries of all.

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Football

ICYMI: Rio Olympics 2016 day ten round-up

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Shaunae Miller Dives for 400m Gold

Shaunae Miller took a head first dive to win gold in the women’s 400m final. Allyson Felix would’ve had her fifth gold medal, but Miller beat her by 0.07 seconds. Simone Biles was also close to winning five gold medals, but ended up with bronze after a mistake on the balance beam. Find out more from day ten here, and see the medal count below:

  1. United States: 75 (26 Gold, 23 Silver, 26 Bronze)
  2. China: 46 (15 Gold, 14 Silver, 17 Bronze)
  3. Great Britain: 41 (16 Gold, 17 Silver, 8 Bronze)
  4. Russia: 35 (11 Gold, 12 Silver, 12 Bronze)
  5. Japan: 27 (7 Gold, 4 Silver, 16 Bronze)
  6. France: 24 (7 Gold, 9 Silver, 8 Bronze)

This article originally appeared on OutwardOn.com.

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Daily Fantasy Football Strategy – Tips and Advice

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daily fantasy football strategy

You may love playing different types of football games and recently, you have wanted to know more about Daily Fantasy Football. You want to have points that will allow you to advance. This is not the type of game that will rely on other players or your luck. The main goal is to build a team that you can be proud of so that you will win. Without a proper team, expect that you are going to lose. This is why you need to know Daily Fantasy Football strategy.

In this game, you will get more cash in order to get your dream team. In fact, you are going to need cash to purchase the right players that will work for the team that you want to build. The positions that you need to fill up are the following:

  • Quarterback
  • Running Back
  • Wide Receiver
  • Tight End
  • Kicker
  • Defenses

You are going to start with mediocre players as usual but you can always improve if you would get more money to purchase. Always start with your quarterback. The better your quarterback is, the more chances that you will get a lot of money. Out of all the players that are mentioned, the one that you need to pay a lot of attention to is the wide receiver. This is going to be the most consistent player of all. You have to buy wide receivers that will be consistent in scoring. If there is one position that you can skip first, you can skip the tight end players. There is no way of knowing how well they will score. Second that, you can skip is the kicker because it will be hard to predict how they will score as well.

Some Winning Strategies to Use

Now that you are more familiar with the different player positions that you will encounter when you play the game, we will provide more details about the Daily Fantasy Football strategy that will allow you to get more cash in the long run.

  • If you would like to have a quarterback that can do well, make sure that you pick out an underdog quarterback that can score points and will throw a ton in order to score points for your team.
  • For the running back, you have to choose someone that is known to be reliable. This is when you can choose a crowd favorite running back as it will make all the difference with the game.
  • Purchase two wide receivers that are consistent in making points. Choose wide receivers that have already done well before and have not played badly.
  • Make sure that you have a strong kicker that can go against the tight defense of the opponent. The better your kicker is, the better your chances of scoring points. The bigger and stronger the player is, the better it will be for you.
  • If you are unsure when you need to work on your defense, take a look at the weather. Is it raining, is it snowing? If the weather conditions are less than favorable, have a great defense to prevent the other team from scoring.

Other Tips You Should Not Forget

It is easy to focus on Daily Fantasy football strategy that works especially if you have tried it and you like the results but remember that there are always some differences that will occur. You need to make sure that you will still make your own decisions based on your intuition. Here are some more additional tips that may help you out with your game:

  • There may be some star players that have been playing badly the past weeks and you are unsure if you are going to get that player while the price is right. (AKA affordable) The player is not a star player for nothing. He may be able to increase his speed again and improve his skills so that he can be the best player that you can have on your team.
  • It will be hard to pick some players sometimes because the ones that you want are unavailable but just be patient and you may be able to get them eventually.
  • Some players from the West may be traveling towards the East and you are interested in letting these players play. The travel time will not be worth it. They will not arrive on time and your team won’t be able to play.

Which Daily Fantasy football strategy is your favorite? If you have some strategies too, feel free to share. It will be appreciated by players from different parts of the globe.

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