Pros and Cons of Football
Starting in the early 1930’s, state penitentiary facilities began forming football teams for the inmates. Because many people of that time thought this was inappropriate, prison football teams did not become common until the 1970’s. They play a 16-game season in the fall and have a prison Super Bowl in December. Each facility has 3 teams of 25 players each, with 8 players per team on the field at a time (5 linemen and 3 backs) instead of the usual 11, due to the smaller fields. The convicts compete with the teams within the prison, as well as with teams from other prisons within the state, and willing semi-pro teams. The coaches and players are selected by the facility officials after tryouts, some of which who make it on the teams actually having experience from college and pro football leagues before incarceration. The equipment is donated by state colleges and high schools, and ultimately does not cost the prison hardly any money. But do the full-contact games ever get out of hand? “In the beginning, almost every game ended in a fistfight. But I think the program is more organized and better supervised now. Overall, the players display good sportsmanship, while at the same time venting a lot of frustrations” says prison guard and referee, Stan Cioccia. So what could prison football be compared to? Babe Wood, prison athletics director at the Tennessee State Prison, has an answer. “I’d say teams are equal to a junior college team. Once there was a player here from Memphis who could have made any major college team in the country. It’s so sad to see a talent like that wasted.” But what thoughts do students have on a prison football league? “I think it’s probably better that the inmates are relieving tension through football, as opposed to beating up each other” answered Briana Egger (10). However, Parents of the students had different opinions.
“If you committed a crime bad enough to get yourself into...
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