You may or may not have seen the ad for the new Esquire show, "Friday Night Tykes". It features a bite-size version of adult football. By that I mean there's rough contact, injuries, and coaches screaming all sorts of obscenities at children. All the things that build "winning mentalities", right?
Well, not everyone is impressed with the inside look at Texas youth football.
An NFL spokesman referred to the trailer for the show as "troubling to watch", especially the head-to-head collisions, a type of contact known to cause serious injuries and even brain damage. The spokesman was quick to distance the show from the NFL's own Heads Up Football Program, which the person said encourages safety in youth programs.
In contrast, a spokeswoman for the Esquire Network called the show an "authentic and provocative glimpse into an independent youth football league in Texas." Where authenticity is concerned, there's no doubt that those are real kids. However, provocative might just be another word for exploiting the mental and physical pain of children for money. Like child pageant reality television, only without the poofy dresses and tiaras (and come on, we all know at least one stage mom has been tackled).
Just watched the promo for friday night tykes and I gotta wonder who would let their kids play for these coaches.
— Anthony McGhee (@McGhee1515) January 8, 2014
If you want you to see youth sports culture and what is wrong with it, watch Friday Night Tykes...Mercy http://t.co/nUo69javJg
— Jimmy Sanderson (@Jimmy_Sanderson) January 8, 2014
Perhaps even more telling is the attempt to rationalize the stage parent/coach behavior behind the series where, "coaches and parents offer insight into why they believe they are teaching their children valuable lessons about discipline and dedication".
So wait, this isn't the wet dream of hyper-paternal figures who feel that swearing at little boys and encouraging violence that could permanently damage their still growing bodies will teach them to be real men and not "wussies"? Who else is flabberghasted?
In any case, one has to wonder what it means when persons representing the grown-up version of what this show is hoping to emulate are backing away from being associated with it. Friday Night Tykes too gritty for the NFL? Perish the thought.
Image via Esquire Youtube