Broncos lineman cites Noam Chomsky as a reason for quitting NFL

Greg Campbell | Contributor

A Denver Broncos lineman is quitting the NFL — and walking away from an additional $1 million he would have made if he’d stayed through the end of his contract next year — because he’d begun reading the works of liberal linguist Noam Chomsky and the Dalai Lama.

Guard John Moffitt called the Broncos from his home in Seattle last week and said he wouldn’t be back.

Unlike Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Jonathan Martin, who famously quit the team amid allegations that he was being bullied and harassed by teammates, Moffitt told the Associated Press that he was simply no longer all that thrilled to be playing football.

“I just really thought about it and decided I’m not happy,” he told AP. “I’m not happy at all. And I think it’s really madness to risk your body, risk your well-being and risk your happiness for money.”

“Everybody, they just don’t get it and they think it’s crazy,” he said. “But I think what I was doing is crazy.”

He also cited the works of Noam Chomsky, who once said that cheering for your home team was a way of “building into people irrational submissiveness to power,” as part of his decision.

The prolific author, media critic and liberal activist and commentator is quoted in his 1992 book “Manufacturing Consent” saying that sports are part of a propagandist “indoctrination system” meant to distract “Joe Six Pack” from “things that matter.”

“The purpose of those media is just to dull people’s brains,” he said. “This is an oversimplification, but for the 80 percent or whatever they are, the main thing is to divert them. To get them to watch National Football League.”

“[I]t’s a way of building up irrational attitudes of submission to authority, and group cohesion behind leadership elements — in fact, it’s training in irrational jingoism,” Chomsky wrote. “That’s also a feature of competitive sports. I think if you look closely at these things, I think, typically, they do have functions, and that’s why energy is devoted to supporting them and creating a basis for them and advertisers are willing to pay for them and so on.”

Moffitt has only played two games for the Broncos after being acquired from the Seattle Seahawks in August. AP reported that he’s earned $1.8 million in his two and a half NFL seasons. He’s leaving the Broncos during an 8-1 season in which they’re in second place in the AFC West. The team has a real chance to make the Super Bowl.

Moffitt shrugged it off.

“I don’t care about the Super Bowl,” he told AP. “I don’t need the Super Bowl experience. I played in great stadiums and I played against great players. And I had that experience and it’s enough.”

Moffitt didn’t say what new career he’ll pursue, but said he plans to spend more time with his parents, his girlfriend and her 5-year-old daughter.

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