Friday Night Tykes: Televised Child Abuse?


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When I previously wrote an article about the NFL's distancing itself from the Esquire reality television series, "Friday Night Tykes", I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach that it was going to be even worse than I thought it would be. And as criticism pours in after the debut episode, it appears that feeling was correct.

I'm not talking about the sort of inevitable criticism that occurs over controversial happenings where people having differing points of views about politics.

This is a television show that at the end of the day is about children. CHILDREN. Little human beings that might still suffer from bladder control issues such as wetting the bed at night. I can honestly say that many grown-ups would probably wet the beds themselves if they had to put up with the sort of abusive language and behavior that these kids did.

Some scenes are truly heart-breaking.

Imagine being a little eight-year-old boy whose parents made the decision that you should go spend quality time with your grandmother for two weeks so that you can have a window of time to enjoy some semblance of a childhood. Imagine being punished for it by being told to run until you could barely stand, and were ready to throw up. Imagine being taunted and laughed at by an adult who calls himself a coach, but is probably just a sadist looking to exploit someone who is too little to fight back.

This was the reality for a tearful Jaden "J Boogie" Armmer. Again, this was his parent's decision, and if the coach had that much of an issue with missed practices, why not talk about it with the actual adults in his life?

This is just one of the many issues that people who dared to watch the show are having. Of course, showcasing questionable treatment of children in sports will always invite the justification of what we are seeing as "teaching discipline and respect" and "making men out of little boys." I challenge you to find a sane member of the Marines who commands actual troops who would say that he would treat little children in this way. Because when you realize that the truly battle hardened among Americans would likely go about building up our young in an entirely different way, it just showcases the dysfunction of this show.

Perhaps it's time Americans got off the couch and stopped allowing someone else to define reality for them. Because when we get to this point, where we are exploiting the pain of the most vulnerable among us for television views, we have truly lost our souls as a society.

Image via Esquire Network