Out Of Their League Essay, Research Paper

Out of Their League

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In the book entitled Out of Their League, David Meggyesy describes his life as a football participant from high school through his yearss with the St. Louis Cardinals of the National Football League ( NFL ) . Born in 1941, Meggyesy was raised in a low-income family in Solon, Ohio. Like many jocks from destitute backgrounds, he was able to utilize the game of football to better himself though both a full scholarship to Syracuse University and fiscal stableness with the Cardinals. During his calling, nevertheless, Meggyesy became progressively disillusioned with the game of football and how its jocks were capable to enormous physical and psychological convulsion from those in power & # 8212 ; viz. the managers and the NFL squad proprietors. He began to see the game of football from a struggle theoretician point of position. This is the belief that athletics is an opiate used to profit those in power through the development of jocks which enables those such as managers and squad proprietors to keep their power and privilege in society. ( Coakley, 1998 ) Meggyesy & # 8217 ; s turning disillusion with football and acceptance of a struggle theoretician point of position led him to retire from the Cardinals in 1969.

Research guided by struggle theory by and large falls into the undermentioned classs: 1 ) surveies of how jocks become alienated from their ain organic structures ; 2 ) surveies of how athleticss can be used to hale and command people ; 3 ) surveies of athleticss and the development of commerce in society ; 4 ) surveies of athleticss and assorted signifiers of patriotism and militarism ; and 5 ) surveies of athleticss and racism and sexism. ( Coakley, 1998 ) In the book, Meggyesy provided illustrations of each of these classs which occurred during his football calling. These illustrations will be presented in the undermentioned paragraphs.

As antecedently mentioned, one class that struggle theoreticians survey is how athletes become alienated from their ain organic structures. Such surveies examine whether athleticss lead jocks to specify and see their organic structures as machines designed to bring forth amusement and net incomes for others instead than feelings of pleasance for themselves. ( Coakley, 1998 ) Meggyesy described this phenomenon when he said:

I besides realized, paradoxically, how cut off and removed I was from my organic structure. I knew my organic structure more exhaustively than most work forces are of all time able to, but I had used it and thought of it as a machine, a thing that had to be well-oiled, well-nourished, and well-taken-care of, to make a specific occupation. ( Meggyesy, 1970, p. 231 )

Unfortunately, keeping this & # 8220 ; machine & # 8221 ; frequently meant that jocks would utilize drugs such as pep pills, barbiturates, steroids, or Cortone Acetate injections non for the intent of intervention and remedy, but for the intent of exciting the head and organic structure in order to execute more violently as a professional. ( Meggyesy, 1970 ) The prevalence of these drugs in the NFL could be seen in Meggyesy & # 8217 ; s words, & # 8220 ; Most NFL trainers do more dealing in these drugs than the mean junky. & # 8221 ; ( Meggyesy, 1970, p. 83 )

Meggyesy & # 8217 ; s managers besides treated jocks as machines because their concern for the wellbeing of jocks was merely to the extent that they could lend to their primary concern of winning games. For illustration, while Meggyesy was at Syracuse University, the primary concern of the managers was to win a national title by any agencies possible. This meant that they normally enrolled the jocks in remedial classs to assist maintain them academically eligible. It besides meant supplying them with replies to prove inquiries, giving them recognition for classs ne’er taken, and acquiring others to take finals or write term documents for them. In making this, the jocks were left in a existent quandary when their eligibility was complete. Since they could no longer lend to winning, they were no longer supported by the managers and were faced with a tough agenda of categories because of all the remedial classs taken. This forsaking by the managers caused most of the jocks to drop out of school without having a grade. In fact, of the 26 participants in Meggyesy & # 8217 ; s category, merely he and two others received grades. ( Meggyesy, 1970 )

Meggyesy besides observed the intervention of jocks as machines whenever they sustained an hurt. In such an case, he contended that the managers and the squad medical staff were more concerned about acquiring the jock back on the playing field at the disbursal of the mental and physical wellbeing of the jock. When Meggyesy one time hurt his mortise joint, the squad trainer told him it would take clip for the hurt to mend. However, when the manager confronted the trainer and asked if Meggyesy would be ready to play the following game, the trainer gave his confidences that he would be ready to travel. This put Meggyesy in a hard place since the load would now be on him if he did non play. It would be a inquiry of his bravery and whether or non he had the backbones to play. If he decided to play, he would probably re-aggravate the hurt and pass more clip in rehabilitation. However, if he decided non to play, he would be cut off and ignored by the coaching staff since he could no longer lend to winning. ( Meggyesy, 1970 )

Conflict theoreticians besides study how athleticss can be used by those in power to hale and command people. ( Coakley, 1998 ) Meggyesy acknowledged this power when he broke squad curfew in high school and was suspended by the manager for one game. ( Meggyesy, 1970 ) He said, & # 8220 ; & # 8230 ; I recognized the limitless power those in control had, and I wanted to do certain they didn & # 8217 ; t acquire me again. & # 8221 ; ( Meggyesy, 1970, p. 14 ) Meggyesy besides tells of how a teammate of his with the Cardinals, who had suffered a series of knee hurts during the season, was out of the blue called in by the manager to have a Irish pound, which was something he about ne’er had to make. ( Meggyesy, 1970 ) Because of this presentation of control by the manager, Meggyesy & # 8217 ; s teammate needlessly suffered a career-ending articulatio genus hurt on the resulting drama. ( Meggyesy, 1970 ) .

Coachs can besides hale and command an jock & # 8217 ; s life outside the playing field. When Meggyesy began dating a miss in high school, his manager told him that a football participant could non at the same time prolong a relationship with a miss, adequately complete school assignment, and be to the full dedicated to football. He coerced Meggyesy into stoping the relationship and so demonstrated his power by assuring him a football scholarship to Syracuse University for following with his wants. ( Meggyesy, 1970 )

The power of coercion and control possessed by managers was besides seen as Meggyesy was seeking to make up one’s mind on where to go to college. After verbally perpetrating to Syracuse University, Meggyesy reconsidered his determination and opted for Louisiana State University. Upon hearing his determination, the outraged Syracuse training staff flew him to campus for a meeting. By coercing the teenage Meggyesy with feelings of guilt, the training staff coerced him into go toing Syracuse University. ( Meggyesy, 1970 )

The 3rd class struggle theoreticians survey is the development of commerce in society through athleticss. Such surveies can concentrate on whether jocks are exploited to advance capitalistic enlargement by crating net incomes for big corporations and affluent people. ( Coakley, 1998 ) Meggyesy provided an illustration of this in analyzing the operations of NFL squad proprietors. During Meggyesy & # 8217 ; s professional calling, T

he net incomes of the NFL increased 4,300 per centum but participant wages increased by merely 73.6 per centum. ( Meggyesy, 1970 ) Subtracting the rises in the cost of populating brought the wage additions to merely 48.4 per centum. ( Meggyesy, 1970 ) Another illustration that Meggyesy provided was when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. Against the wants of the participants, the NFL decided non to prorogue its games in the aftermath of one of the darkest calamities in American history. NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle justified the determination by stating, “It has been traditional in athleticss for jocks to execute in times of great personal calamity. Football was Mr. Kennedy’s game. He thrived on competition.” ( Meggyesy, 1970, p. 145 ) . Meggyesy viewed this justification as arrant bunk. He believed the existent ground for playing the games was because the assorted proprietors would hold lost immense net incomes if they had postponed them. ( Meggyesy, 1970 )

Conflict theoreticians besides study athleticss and assorted signifiers of patriotism and militarism. These surveies examine whether athleticss create superficial, irrational, and potentially harmful feelings of chauvinistic pride, and whether athleticss might be used to warrant force in society. ( Coakley, 1998 ) Meggyesy asserted that football was being used to warrant force in society, more specifically the United States & # 8217 ; engagement in Vietnam. ( Meggyesy, 1970 ) He believed this justification could be seen by detecting the similarities between football and war. Meggyesy stated:

& # 8230 ; there was this whole militaristic aura environing pro football, non merely in obvious things like football stars sing military personnels in Vietnam, but in the linguistic communication of the game & # 8212 ; & # 8216 ; throwing the bomb & # 8217 ; , being a & # 8216 ; field general & # 8217 ; , etc. , and in the unreflective duty to & # 8216 ; responsibility & # 8217 ; required of the participants. In short, the game has been wrapped in ruddy, white, and blue. ( Meggyesy, 1970, p. 147 )

The concluding class struggle theoreticians survey is the sexism and racism found in athleticss. These surveies examine whether athleticss divide people by race and gender, perpetuate racial stereotypes and deformed definitions of maleness and muliebrity, and make racial and gender unfairnesss in society. ( Coakley, 1998 ) In footings of sexism, Meggyesy tells of his yearss at Syracuse University when it was & # 8220 ; & # 8230 ; healthy and manfully to travel out and acquire rummy, pick up some miss, lay her and possibly even rough her up a bit. & # 8221 ; ( Meggyesy, 1970, p. 75 ) Another illustration of sexism occurred later in his calling. During a game with the Cardinals, Meggyesy ducked a tackle. The manager responded to this perceived act of cowardliness by stating he looked & # 8220 ; about feminine & # 8221 ; in doing the tackle. ( Meggyesy, 1970, p.181 ) As Meggyesy said:

This kind of onslaught on a participant & # 8217 ; s manhood is a manager & # 8217 ; s doomsday arm. And it about ever works, for the participants have wrapped up their individuality in their maleness, which is everlastingly unstable for it non merely depends on non exhibiting fright of any sort on the playing field, but is besides something that can be given and withdrawn by a manager at his pleasance. ( Meggyesy, 1970, p. 181 )

Because of the manager & # 8217 ; s remarks, he went back to his hotel room and began to earnestly doubt his ability to play professional football. ( Meggyesy, 1970 ) In fact, the lost tackle left such an feeling of failure in his head that he earnestly considered leaping out of his 12th narrative window. ( Meggyesy, 1970 )

Meggyesy besides described legion cases of racism. During developing cantonment with the Cardinals, Meggyesy noted that black and white participants went their separate ways when pattern was over. In add-on, the squad assigned suites in the participant residence halls on the footing of race, and inkinesss and Whites were normally assigned to divide wings in the residence halls. Such racism was besides displayed by the participants & # 8217 ; married womans. For illustration, Meggyesy & # 8217 ; s married woman, Stacy, discovered that no inkinesss were invited to the parties held each twelvemonth by the participants & # 8217 ; married womans. ( Meggyesy, 1970 )

Racism was besides perpetuated when the Cardinals & # 8217 ; squad roll was determined each season. Meggyesy revealed that:

Black ball participants are selected even more strictly on the footing of & # 8216 ; right attitude & # 8217 ; than Whites. Blacks are in an particularly hard place ; if they act like Toms, they will be wholly dominated by the white ball participants and lose regard for themselves and each other. But if they are excessively & # 8216 ; hawkish & # 8217 ; and seek to asseverate their basic manhood by trying to interrupt out of the Whites & # 8217 ; stereotype of the shamble, dumb, insensitive athlete, they are & # 8230 ; frequently cut from the squad. ( Meggyesy, 1970, p. 195 )

In add-on to these choice tactics, Meggyesy talked about the pattern throughout the NFL of allowing inkinesss play merely certain places. In fact, really few inkinesss held places which were popularly thought to necessitate a great trade of intelligence instead than a great trade of strength such as line backer, violative guard, and signal caller. ( Meggyesy, 1970 )

In reading the aforesaid illustrations that David Meggyesy provided in Out of Their League, it is evident that he viewed the intervention of football participants from a struggle theoretician point of position. Since over a one-fourth century has passed since his book was published, I wanted to happen out if his feelings on the topic have changed since so. It turns out that Meggyesy has played an built-in portion in bettering the on the job conditions of NFL jocks. For the past 18 old ages, he has served as the Western Director of the NFL Players Association ( NFLPA ) . ( David Meggyesy, Personal Communication, December 12, 2000 ) He believes that working conditions are much better today non merely because of the NFLPA, but besides because of the improved market conditions that have resulted from the national and international popularity of the conference. ( David Meggyesy, Personal Communication, December 12, 2000 ) As to what betterments still need to be made, his primary focal point was on bettering the intervention of collegiate jocks at establishments with & # 8220 ; big-time & # 8221 ; football and hoops plans. ( David Meggyesy, Personal Communication, December 12, 2000 ) He believes these jocks are being exploited chiefly because they do non have a part of the significant grosss they help to bring forth for their several establishments. ( David Meggyesy, Personal Communication, December 12, 2000 ) Furthermore, because current NCAA regulations make it hard for these jocks to gain adequate money to cover their normal life disbursals, he believes they frequently have to turn to the & # 8220 ; black market & # 8221 ; ( i.e. supporters ) for fiscal support. ( David Meggyesy, Personal Communication, December 12, 2000 )

Like a struggle theoretician, Meggyesy believes there are still betterments to be made in footings of the development of jocks. Therefore, it appears the five classs conflict theoreticians study will go on to be applicable to the game of football and to athleticss in general.


1. Coakley, J. ( 1998 ) . Sport In Society: Issues and Controversies. Boston,

Massachusetts. The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

2. Meggyesy, D. ( 1970 ) . Out of Their League. Berkeley, California. Ramparts

Press, Inc.


Book Report for & # 8220 ; Out of Their League & # 8221 ; , which is a life of former NFL participant David Meggyesy. Gives a brief sum-up of the book and how conflict theory from the survey of sociology can be applied to episodes in Meggyesy & # 8217 ; s life.

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