How to virtually end the NFL injury epidemic

Yesterday I sent this tweet: “Look at the NFL injury report and then justify being a fan of the league’s product. That league should end.” Here is a summary of this week’s injuries, if you’re interested (beware the autoplay). I don’t think the NFL will ever go away, but below I offer a solution that will virtually remove all serious injuries from a game I actually like.

My tweet didn’t elicit much response, but not very many (of my) tweets do. However, an old friend of mine (maybe trolling), suggested that my tweet implied that we should also ban cars because more people are hurt in auto accidents than tear their ACLs in football games. This is not a good argument. My problem with the NFL is partly the profit that is generated by selling the athletes’ skills to consumers of the league’s product, and what seems like lip service from the league to the risk the players are taking. Nobody is selling my driving ability. The analogy might work better for auto racing, and it would be interesting to see a comparison of injuries between the NFL and NASCAR, and some analysis of how serious the leagues are in protecting their employees on the field and track. (more…)

Prosumption in Sociology 101

This upcoming fall I’ll be teaching Sociology 101 for the first time. I’ve been eager to teach the course, but at the same time it is a daunting task. How does one do justice to the discipline of sociology in 16 weeks? It’s not possible to cover the content completely, but that won’t be my primary goal. The primary goal will be to introduce the sociological perspective, and it looks like this is what most folks do with the class. One thing that I think might be different about my approach is that I want this to be a very active experience for the students. Instead of memorizing concepts and statistics, I’m hoping we’ll work together to generate content meant to illustrate basic sociological questions and answers. I’m using the idea of ‘prosumption‘ to guide the course plan. I’ve written up a funding proposal for the work I’ll do this summer to develop the course, and I thought I’d share it here to see if I could get any comments or suggestions (on the course design, not the funding proposal!).

Here it is: (more…)