- The Washington Times - Friday, October 22, 2010

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The current discussion on football’s helmet-to-helmet violence has elicited more than one reference to football’s “gladiatorial” nature (“Hard-hitting announcers,” Culture, Oct. 14). Such quasi-historical allusions, unfortunately, ignore historical reality.

The gladiators of ancient Rome were mostly captured slaves, thrown into violent life-or-death combat and sentenced to perform for the amusement of the cheering masses. Except for the enormous salaries paid to our current “gladiators” and the masses, which have been multiplied by cable TV, there is a modicum of resemblance.

As such, perhaps we also should remember the associated history of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, which followed, and learn from it.

JACK R. HARNEY

New Carrollton, Md.

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