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Old 12-14-2018, 03:30 PM
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Women playing in the NFL: Would/should male players hit them just as hard?


In (non-SDMB) threads about the possibility of women playing in the NFL (not likely, but still possible), there would often be an MRA vs. feminist ragefest about whether women were physically up to the task. And alongside of the usual muscles and brawn science debate there was also the social/cultural issue of whether it would be right for a male player to play a female opponent as physically as he would a male opponent.

This thread could probably be GD/IMHO but Game Room may be best. From a biological perspective, there could no doubt be some women found in America (or in the world) who would be as physically elite as a male NFL player and could play football at the pro level. But from a social/cultural standpoint, would it be appropriate for a male NFL player to slam her to the turf as hard as he would anyone else?
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Old 12-14-2018, 04:04 PM
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But from a social/cultural standpoint, would it be appropriate for a male NFL player to slam her to the turf as hard as he would anyone else?
Yes.

Last edited by Telemark; 12-14-2018 at 04:04 PM.
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Old 12-14-2018, 04:06 PM
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But from a social/cultural standpoint, would it be appropriate for a male NFL player to slam her to the turf as hard as he would anyone else?
Of course. And I would think a female player would be upset if she was treated "softer" than everyone else.
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Old 12-14-2018, 04:08 PM
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MEN shouldn't be hit with the force they are in the NFL today, so I'd say the same about women too.
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Old 12-14-2018, 04:20 PM
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I don't see why not. I would assume that anyone, male or female, playing on a professional level has been playing the sport competitively for a good portion of their lives. Perhaps co-ed, perhaps not. Any woman who is playing at this level of athleticism and skill isn't some "delicate little flower" who needs to be treated with kid gloves. She is likely a fierce competitor who has been taking (and likely giving) those kinds of hits for quite a while. I imagine she might even be offended by men "taking it easy" on her.
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Old 12-14-2018, 04:23 PM
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MEN shouldn't be hit with the force they are in the NFL today, so I'd say the same about women too.
That's a great point. Still, whatever the strength of the hits, they should be the same regardless of the opponent's sex.
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Old 12-14-2018, 04:40 PM
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I don't see why not. I would assume that anyone, male or female, playing on a professional level has been playing the sport competitively for a good portion of their lives. Perhaps co-ed, perhaps not. Any woman who is playing at this level of athleticism and skill isn't some "delicate little flower" who needs to be treated with kid gloves. She is likely a fierce competitor who has been taking (and likely giving) those kinds of hits for quite a while. I imagine she might even be offended by men "taking it easy" on her.
I'm sure the woman herself wouldn't be wanted to be treated delicately, but I can see many people on social media taking the "a man shouldn't hit a woman (hard)" principle onto the football field.
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Old 12-14-2018, 04:44 PM
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I'm sure the woman herself wouldn't be wanted to be treated delicately, but I can see many people on social media taking the "a man shouldn't hit a woman (hard)" principle onto the football field.
Of course they'll be people saying that. Doesn't mean they should be listened to.
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Old 12-14-2018, 04:46 PM
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If a woman had the physical gifts to allow her to effectively compete in the NFL, I would not have a problem with it personally and I’d also expect her to be treated like any other player.

Of course, if she’s a QB she’s going to be nigh untouchable but that has nothing to do with being a woman.
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Old 12-14-2018, 05:43 PM
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This question is a pretty good example of why I don't think women should be allowed to play in the NFL. (Though I wouldn't object to them having their own league.)
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Old 12-14-2018, 05:50 PM
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(Though I wouldn't object to them having their own league.)
But they do!

Legends Football League
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Old 12-14-2018, 05:56 PM
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This question is a pretty good example of why I don't think women should be allowed to play in the NFL. (Though I wouldn't object to them having their own league.)
I don't follow at all. Why is a question like this, essentially without merit, a problem for equal opportunities?
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Old 12-14-2018, 07:03 PM
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I ended my Army career in a Training Support Battalion that, among other things, specialized in teaching combatives (aka hand to hand combat.) Along with the predeployment training required for troops we were supporting our combatives instructors ran numerous certification training cycles. Part of it was ensuring we maintained a broad pool of certified instructors. Another big part was the experience was good preparation for our actual missions; training people on combatives was the best way to maintain skill at training people on combatives.

Gender mostly didn't matter. I saw a lot of hand to hand training events just in the scope of my duties to check on training. We also ran a lot of combatives certification cycles to both keep our trainers fresh and keep a braod base of available instructors. At times individuals let gender affect their behavior and it showed.

My first thought on reading the OP was one case where someone let it matter. One of our female NCOs going through the training was rolling with another student in the end of course tournament. The uniform for that event was the ACU uniform pants and t-shirt without the blouse. The female NCO in question was also on the large breasted side. At one point her struggling opponent got a good handful of t-shirt and breast...and suddenly pulled his hand back. The lead instructor moved in and was saying things like "She's a Sergeant not a girl" and "You're going to let her kick your ass." He wasn't able to work all the way through his personal issues before submitting. She did kick his ass. Lesson delivered to the rest of the class. Her next opponent didn't make the same mistake and beat her.

I don't really recall any issues in the more tactical training events. (Like room clearing with weapons but the scenario doesn't rate deadly force.) By the time you dress everyone in full tactical uniform and the opponent is in a padded suit to protect them from strikes there's not a lot of visible cues about sex or gender. I'd expect some of the same effect in the NFL. All the protective padding will hide some of the cues that might enable subconscious discrimination. For the rest, I'd expect they'd learn pretty quickly that "She's a running back not a girl." There are real incentives, including financial, to overcome the cultural sexism they may have been raised with. Over time, I'd expect the personnnel system to mostly weed out those that can't "hit a girl."
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Old 12-15-2018, 08:33 AM
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IFrom a biological perspective, there could no doubt be some women found in America (or in the world) who would be as physically elite as a male NFL player and could play football at the pro level.
I doubt it.

Bill Tilden's advice on mixed doubles (in tennis) - "Hit as hard as you can to the woman." Any woman in the NFL is going to be a weak link. Any other player is going to exploit that link.

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Old 12-15-2018, 08:59 AM
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Yeah, the only way to even make the hypothetical work is to set it in a superhero universe.
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Old 12-15-2018, 09:20 AM
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Yeah, the only way to even make the hypothetical work is to set it in a superhero universe.
The NFL is basically a superhero universe. Most people donít realize how super human they are. That giant they think is just a fat guy is quicker than just about anyone you know over short distances as well as being amazingly big and strong.
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Old 12-15-2018, 10:09 AM
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I doubt it.

Bill Tilden's advice on mixed doubles (in tennis) - "Hit as hard as you can to the woman." Any woman in the NFL is going to be a weak link. Any other player is going to exploit that link.

Regards,
Shodan


The counter-argument to that is that the NFL isn't a charity. Even if the average female athlete might be "a weak link" if she were to play, no average athlete would ever be given the chance. If a female player walks onto that field, it will be because she's proven she, personally, isn't a weak link.
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Old 12-15-2018, 12:49 PM
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Now, from a purely physical standpoint, what might make a woman more or less vulnerable to hard impact than a man? I've read that women's skulls often don't provide the same protection against cranial injury as men's (but the source was the not-so-scientific Reader's Digest, so take that for what it's worth.) But women usually have more subcutaneous fat; does that insulate internal organs better?

What about bone density, etc.? Are women likelier to suffer fractures?
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Old 12-15-2018, 02:26 PM
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Now, from a purely physical standpoint, what might make a woman more or less vulnerable to hard impact than a man? I've read that women's skulls often don't provide the same protection against cranial injury as men's (but the source was the not-so-scientific Reader's Digest, so take that for what it's worth.) But women usually have more subcutaneous fat; does that insulate internal organs better?

What about bone density, etc.? Are women likelier to suffer fractures?
Women tend to be smaller and have less muscle mass in general, but presumably if a woman made it into the NFL sheíd be large enough and strong enough to handle herself.
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Old 12-15-2018, 02:42 PM
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Let's add a dose of reality to this thread. The position most likely for a woman to break into the NFL is as a kicker. That has already occurred in college football. Kickers are not regularly subject to strong contact, but it does happen. The situation where a fake or a fumble results in a female kicker holding a live ball in the NFL facing an active defense is not one that I would want to watch.

Last edited by Anglachel; 12-15-2018 at 02:44 PM. Reason: grammar
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Old 12-15-2018, 05:20 PM
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The situation where a fake or a fumble results in a female kicker holding a live ball in the NFL facing an active defense is not one that I would want to watch.
There are typically a handful of kickers in the NFL who weigh between 160 and 170 pounds each year. That's fairly large for a female kicker but not unreasonable. The male kickers generally don't do very well with a live ball either, but someone at 130-140 lbs would be at a significant disadvantage.
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Old 12-15-2018, 07:30 PM
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There are typically a handful of kickers in the NFL who weigh between 160 and 170 pounds each year. That's fairly large for a female kicker but not unreasonable. The male kickers generally don't do very well with a live ball either, but someone at 130-140 lbs would be at a significant disadvantage.
A quick Google search suggests that Trindon Holliday is the smallest NFL player in modern times (he was drafted in 2010 by the Houston Texans).

He measured in at 5'5" and 162 pounds.

So it is safe to say smaller/lighter than that doesn't work well in the NFL.

To be sure there are women bigger than that though (who are also physically fit).
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Old 12-15-2018, 09:00 PM
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I could see women in CB and RB positions. A CB has to be quick and agile; a RB, with strong legs, would have an advantage with a lower profile. Some while back, I caught a bit of women's World Cup, and those lasses were darn nasty, so I would not count women out as far as attitude, and once the guys get a taste of that, game on.
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Old 12-22-2018, 11:11 PM
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Now, from a purely physical standpoint, what might make a woman more or less vulnerable to hard impact than a man? I've read that women's skulls often don't provide the same protection against cranial injury as men's (but the source was the not-so-scientific Reader's Digest, so take that for what it's worth.) But women usually have more subcutaneous fat; does that insulate internal organs better?

What about bone density, etc.? Are women likelier to suffer fractures?
Women are smaller, with smaller bones. And it's my understanding that women are proportionately more lightly built with weaker tendon attachments.

On the other hand they are more flexible, and will sometime bend where a man would break. And due to weighing less don't hit as hard when they fall or run into something.

However I agree with the person upthread who commented that NFL players shouldn't be getting hit as hard as they are regardless of gender. Especially blows to the head.
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Old 12-23-2018, 12:16 AM
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The head/helmet should be 100% off-limits for contact.
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Old 12-23-2018, 12:31 AM
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The head/helmet should be 100% off-limits for contact.
In many (most?) cases the problem isnít with someone contacting the helmet, itís with someone leading with their own helmet. And many of the worst head injuries donít involve contact with another player, but making contact with the ground. I donít know if itís ever going to be possible to really protect the head in any contact sport like football.
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Old 12-23-2018, 11:13 AM
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Let's add a dose of reality to this thread. The position most likely for a woman to break into the NFL is as a kicker. That has already occurred in college football. Kickers are not regularly subject to strong contact, but it does happen. The situation where a fake or a fumble results in a female kicker holding a live ball in the NFL facing an active defense is not one that I would want to watch.
Snickers commercial with Betty White?
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Old 12-25-2018, 02:43 PM
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Let's add a dose of reality to this thread. The position most likely for a woman to break into the NFL is as a kicker. That has already occurred in college football. Kickers are not regularly subject to strong contact, but it does happen. The situation where a fake or a fumble results in a female kicker holding a live ball in the NFL facing an active defense is not one that I would want to watch.
You nailed it. A female kicker is possible at the lower college level programs, however to break through to the NFL level, kickers need to be able to kick off the ball at least to the goal line, and covert on longer 50+ yard field goals, which essentially prevents a woman from breaking through to the NFL level.

The kicker is also the last line of defense, and is often called upon to tackle or push the return player out of bounds.

Years back there was gimmick female professional player in an obscure professional football league. Her job? Field the ball for snaps. The call the position the holder.

Last edited by Ancient Erudite; 12-25-2018 at 02:44 PM.
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Old 12-25-2018, 03:18 PM
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The kicker is also the last line of defense, and is often called upon to tackle or push the return player out of bounds.
Tell that to Sebastian Janikowski, who at best hopes the runner will accidentally bump into/trip over him.
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Old 12-26-2018, 03:47 PM
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Tell that to Sebastian Janikowski, who at best hopes the runner will accidentally bump into/trip over him.
This guy might have something to say about it as well

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57CHn4l211k

To emphasize the point others have made, I doubt there is any woman anywhere on the planet that could compete in the NFL. I could see a very small likelihood that a woman might someday be able to compete with the best men in a sport like basketball, soccer, or baseball, maybe in positions that don't require as much brute strength (2nd base, point guard, goalie). I think this is extremely unlikely, but I won't say it could never happen. However small the likelihood is of that, however, it's likely a whole lot smaller for American football.
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Old 12-26-2018, 04:17 PM
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This guy might have something to say about it as well

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57CHn4l211k
I thought about that one too, Iíd seen that play earlier. That guy is awesome, he should be an unofficial defensive player.
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