Andrew Luck retires from NFL

Do Americans put too much pressure on sports?

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Andrew Luck retires from NFL

Andrew Luck (number 12) during a game against the Redskins.
Photo courtesy of Flickr via Creative Commons

Andrew Luck (number 12) during a game against the Redskins. Photo courtesy of Flickr via Creative Commons

Andrew Luck (number 12) during a game against the Redskins. Photo courtesy of Flickr via Creative Commons

Andrew Luck (number 12) during a game against the Redskins. Photo courtesy of Flickr via Creative Commons

Caitlin Stinson, Author

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On August 25, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck retired from football during the preseason. Luck’s contract was going to expire in two years, but the football star decided to cut his career short due to injuries. This decision is understandable; football is an extremely physical sport that can leave players with traumatic head injuries that impact players for the rest of their life. When Andrew Luck left the field after his last preseason game, some fans in the crowd booed him. According to CNN.com, some fans were seen taking off their Andrew Luck jerseys. Many fans were angry at Luck for leaving when he was at “the top of his game”, and felt like Luck was betraying the team. This situation brings attention to an issue that has been plaguing America for years: do Americans put too much pressure on sports?

Andrew Luck’s career was defined by his seemingly constant injuries, including a persistent ankle issue, a lacerated kidney, torn cartilage in his ribs, and many other serious injuries that resulted from years of playing professional football. Luck told The New York Times, “I haven’t been able to live the life I want to live, It’s taken the joy out of this game. The only way forward for me is to remove myself from football and this cycle I’ve been in.” Despite his extensive injury record, Luck played on the Colts as the star quarterback since 2012, carrying the team to what was known as the greatest comeback in NFL history during the 2013-2014 playoffs. 

After many successful seasons and countless injuries, it would seem only natural that Indianapolis fans would have been understanding of Luck’s retirement. But instead of receiving cheers and encouragement, the quarterback was booed as he left the field for the last time. Frustrated fans took to Twitter, where they were either angry that he sabotaged the 2019-2020 season or that their Fantasy Drafts were ruined. Under a tweet listing Luck’s career injuries, on fan commented, “Stop, he plays football. He completely screwed the franchise. He should be criticized not excuses made for him.”  The Twitter hate did not stay within the Colts fan base, even O.J. Simpson decided to make a comment on Luck’s retirement, tweeting, “Andrew Luck you couldn’t have shared that news before I drafted you an hour ago?” Despite the intense mental and physical toll that football has caused, fans are angered that he is not playing another season. America places a lot of emphasis on sports (the Superbowl is one of the biggest moments in television of the year), and many people forget that the players that are apart of their favorite teams are actual humans.

The pressure on sports is not limited to just professional players: high school players and even children as young as fifth grade are feeling constant pressure to perform well. Grizzlies is a football organization located near the Battlefield community and has been a supportive environment for younger boys to play both flag and tackle football. But, with youth sports, many of the parents take the games very seriously. 

Senior Mckenzie Skiff has a 7 year old brother that plays on a Grizzlies football team. Skiff says, “Some of the parents at these [Grizzlies] games think that their child is going to the NFL. They get so uptight about how their kid performs each game, and sometimes will even scream at them during the game.” Many other sports have similar parents; most athletic facilities that hold youth teams will have posted rules for conduct for parents.

Ultimately, sports play a large role in American life, and many players face immense pressure to perform well for the sake of the team. Andrew Luck’s retirement is understandable, yet many fans still value a good season over the mental and physical health of players.