NFL Player Quits Because, You Know, Noam Chomsky

moffit chomsky

John Moffit, an American football player for the Denver Broncos, has walked away from a multi-million dollar contract after studying the works of Noam Chomsky and the Dalai Lama.

Moffit was on contract with the Denver Broncos until 2014, where he was expected to make another $1 million dollars for the remainder of his contract. Moffit announced on his Twitter that he was saying goodbye to football for good.

The AP notes that Moffit’s worldview changed after reading the works of the Dalai Lama and Chomsky over the last few years while in school.

While he played football at the University of Wisconsin, Moffit studied sociology. He hopes to become a public figure in philosophy and politics. The AP reports:

Moffitt said he’s looking forward to speaking his mind on the radio and in podcasts he’s going to produce. He said he has plenty of opinions to share on everything from philosophy to politics, although he has less to say about sports.

Noam Chomsky could not be reached for comment (because we didn’t try), but would most likely support Moffit’s decision. The linguist/anarchist has talked in the past about the role sports play in manufacturing consent in society. Back in 1992, Chomsky noted that sports fandom is

 …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. 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.

[H/T USA Today]

  • Vivek Jain

    This is a great interview from the Chomsky Reader.

    an excerpt:

    CHOMSKY: When I’m driving, I sometimes turn on the radio and I find very often that what I’m listening to is a discussion of sports. These are telephone conversations. People call in and have long and intricate discussions, and it’s plain that quite a high degree of thought and analysis is going into that. People know a tremendous amount. They know all sorts of complicated details and enter into far-reaching discussion about whether the coach made the right decision yesterday and so on. These are ordinary people, not professionals, who are applying their intelligence and analytic skills in these areas and accumulating quite a lot of knowledge and, for all I know, understanding. On the other hand, when I hear people talk about, say, international affairs or domestic problems, it’s at a level of superficiality that’s beyond belief.

    In part, this reaction may be due to my own areas of interest, but I think it’s quite accurate, basically. And I think that this concentration on such topics as sports makes a certain degree of sense. The way the system is set up, there is virtually nothing people can do anyway, without a degree of organization that’s far beyond anything that exists now, to influence the real world. They might as well live in a fantasy world, and that’s in fact what they do. I’m
    sure they are using their common sense and intellectual skills, but in an area which has no meaning and probably thrives because it has no meaning, as a displacement from the serious problems which one cannot influence and affect because the power happens to lie elsewhere.

    Now it seems to me that the same intellectual skill and capacity for understanding and for accumulating evidence and gaining information and thinking through problems could be used — would be used — under different systems of governance which involve popular participation in important decision-making, in areas that really matter to human life.

    There are questions that are hard. There are areas where you need specialized knowledge. I’m not suggesting a kind of anti-intellectualism. But the point is that many things can be understood quite well without a very far-reaching, specialized knowledge. And in fact even a specialized knowledge in these areas is not beyond the reach of people who happen to be interested.

    • deathmetalnightmare

      “hi, i am chomsky. i know what is the most Real place to put your energy: politics. through my polemic dogma, if you do not do this you are reduced to an irrational jingoist and live in a fantasy world. games and sports are bad because they are not politics and you should not enjoy games or sports because within capitalism they are used as tools to distract and pacify. i could also apply this to art, music, and other things that have no inherent meaning. i am basically a teleologist. if you do not embed social commentary towards political change within these things you are a piece of Unreal Shit. i am also pretty much a phony anarchist and discount other forms of anarchism that arent congruent with my dying corpse body/voice of leftism.”

      • shayneo

        I’m not sure either position captures what Chomsky is saying. His whole position is that the average person is capable of dealing with complicated matters of ethics and politics but are not being given the tools in the form of accurate media or high quality arguments to engage with. He’s not really knocking sports, he’s saying that the depth people engage with sports means they are not stupid at all and can handle a higher level of political engagement , if only people where given the info and theories to do it.

        I’ll ignore your strange ad-hominens. You might be parodying right wing criticism of him, or something?

        With all that said, I do wish Moffit would reconsider. The left could do with folks like him. One of the most interesting dudes I can think of is a world federation wrestler guy who is a hard core advocate of chomsky style anarcho-syndicalism but has kept his job and still cracks heads for a living, but in his off time transforms into a somewhat articulate philosopher of kropotkinesque anarchism. Its somewhat klingonesque in a way!

        • Steve

          Kind of a leftist way of thinking : the average person is just not hearing the message clearly. If we could only remove the distractions of living a comfortable life, we would see how crappy the world really is.

          Maybe the left, especially Chomsky, could recognize that rather than people not having the tools they have the powers of discrimination. They have determined that football is fun to watch and politics is a bag full of shit people throw at each other.

          • Bill Braskey

            You’re talking in superficialities just as Chomsky talks about here Steve… The fact that Chomsky is anarchist, means that he is in favor of small government to the Nth degree, which is as far opposite of the left that one can possibly get. Chomsky, is far right.

          • Betaking12

            no, left-wing isn’t authoritarian inherently, the spectrum is 2dimensional not 1 dimensional.


            Chomsky is on the Libertarian Left,
            Stalin is the Authoritarian Left
            Fascists are Authoritarian Right
            Rothbard is Libertarian Right.

            actual right/left-distinctions come down to “what to do about old-money/the wealthy/capitalist-class”
            left wants to get rid of the wealthy/old-money/old power-structure/hierarchy, and make a new hierarchy.
            right wants to preserve the old hierarchy.

        • “One of the most interesting dudes I can think of is a world federation wrestler guy….”

          Who are you referring to?

          WWE Wrestler Glenn Jacobs / “Kane” is quite popular (he has 3.9 Million “Likes” on Facebook), but he is an anarcho-capitalist (see: ) Are you referring to him or somebody else?

        • Denearo

          Yes to your paragraph 1, except for the last clause, “if only people where(sic) given the info and theories to do it.” People don’t prioritize sports over politics b/c they lack the info and theories. The info & theories of sports are learned by watching, not through classes and reading, like how politics can be learned. People prioritize sports over politics b/c SPORTS are ENTERTAINING. The majority of people want to be entertained during their downtime, rather than have to apply any more further critical thinking after their workday is through. It’s as simple as that.

          Now, if there was only a way to make politics more entertaining… Full contact voting, w/ capture-the-flag style gained ballots on the opposing party’s side of the building. Just don’t allow any kicking to be part of the process like it is in football.

          • forby

            That is why they make you work so much just to survive. so you have very little time to do anything but rest and do enjoyable things. not learn how you are being fucked over by the system that you support. And if you don;t notice the signs of what is coming than you will allow it or welcome it thinking it is the next answer to the problem they cause.

      • Pointpanic

        O come on, CHomsky is just expressing his opinion he’s not being dogamtic.

      • rolthewolf

        That straw man you’ve constructed doesn’t look anything like a real person.

        • Gnat K. Coal

          Unable to change his world,
          He’s Starting With The [straw]Man In The Mirror.

      • Catalina Longora

        art does not have a multi billion dollar industry with stadiums filled to the brim with art knuckle heads waiting to scream bloody murder at another piece of art. Art provokes a gentler and thought provoking side of human nature that is not easily manipulated and used for control whereas sports do.

  • “Violent ground acquisition games such as football is in fact a crypto-fascist metaphor for nuclear war.”

    • Zane Zodrow

      Call me sometime when you have no class.

      • Can you help me with my Longfellow?

    • Frank Richards

      If only football was younger than nuclear war you might have a case.

      • SamNash

        I can’t tell if this is sarcasm or not.

      • “Uh, protruding supra-orbital ridges… Small cranium. Uh… 1300 cc brain. Hmmm… Neanderthal Man!”

  • First, sports fandom is emotional tribalism, but it is hardly irrational jingoism. As an emotional outlet, it is no more dangerous than watching a movie, or any other dramatic narrative. Although, fandom is kind of pathetic, it’s much better to participate in the sports, and get your emotional release from actual physical and social interactions. Plus, being a fan of a business is stupid, there is no point. The purpose of the emotional tribal instinct is to spur loyalty and encourage group success through passionate conflict and social esteem, with the promise of rewards and dominant position upon completing the symbolic struggle. The ritual of virtue, sport is an essential laboratory, and training ground for excellence, leadership, and social morality, which develops a sense of justice and fair play, not just bowing to the authority of the judge or referee, or following the command of the coach or manager, but learning how to play as part of a team, subverting your ego, or at least trying different strategies, to develop better understanding of socio/political environments. This is not irrational, it is a necessary adaptive phase and simply good socialization, especially when the ‘tribe’ is a real cultural group, and not just an arbitrary brand with mercenaries, easily traded or dispossessed when no longer useful. There is the potential for cult like mob mentalities, like soccer, but simply supporting your own team by training and playing or even cheering them on is no worse than encouraging your kids, or spouse, to succeed in any competition. It’s part of human nature, and it works on many levels. Sociologists should acknowledge that, and recognize that human society is full of competition and the social environment is much more complex and determinant of sexual reproduction than say the academic environment. Our mind’s may be capable of transcending the instinctual nature of our evolutionary past, but in the real world sport, as a symbolic ritual combat, is a much better alternative to actual tribal conflict (i.e. war), and it is both entertaining and potentially educational, while keeping one in good physical trim.

    • Ken Koense

      It doesn’t seem like you’ve been to football games before, but I’ll tell you this, it’s not even close to being as civil as you make it out to be. My experience at many games, in different cities, has been universally horrible, and is one of the reasons I’ll only watch a game on television, and with the recent events, is one reason my “consuming” has been migrating downward.

      • Bob Dobbins

        well, someone has to say it. Sorry it falls to me but so be it. MY LOCAL SPORTS TEAM IS BETTER THAN YOUR LOCAL SPORTS TEAM!!!!

    • Daniel Stuart Hoffman

      I don’t think either of you are wrong. The determinant of mentality among the fans is the fan him or herself. For many it is not even emotional tribalism, just entertainment. For some it’s emotional tribalism. For the worst it’s irrational jingoism. Take the instance of some Texans’ fans cheering when Matt Schaub, their own QB, went down. It’s hard to describe that in terms of fandom, or even tribalism, but when looked at in terms of jingoism it makes sense.

    • Matt Langdon

      Yeah, whatever… but how about them Broncos!

    • forby

      It could be considered irrational Jingoism on an international level. but most American don’t play sport against other countries as much as the rest of the world does. They just play amongst themselves and claim to be WORLD CHAMPIONS.

  • Teen Archer

    Noam Chomsky is the most boring motherfucker. . . ON EARTH!!!

    • David Christian

      Which i suspect means he uses formal English and says things you do not understand and feel somewhat challenged by.

      • 99RedandBlackBalloons

        “I’m a boring speaker and I like it that way”
        -The Chompskers himself

  • Teen Archer

    Wonder if Chomsky would know what to say if he were talking to a hooker.

    • “Did you know that your grandson posts comments as ‘Teen Archer’?”

    • David Christian

      Why is that even remotely relevant?

  • nutso

    What interests me here is that this young man might actually do something productive, unlike his fellow jocks or those college “graduates” who work as “quants” for banks, corporations, or the US government secret agencies and eavesdroppers.

    • Frank Richards

      You may legitimately disparage the morals of Wall St’s quants, but putting quotes around ‘graduates’ is nothing but hypocritical snobbery. I defy you to name a single institution where a physics degree involves less academic rigor than one in history.

  • ok, calm down and move back a step…………I agree. basically, if Americans were as passionate about things that matter, i.e. healthcare, $500 billion dollar bank bailout, how the banks keep leaching off of people, for-profit prisons, etc, as they are about FLORIDA GATORS FOOTBAAAAL YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE, GO GATORS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YEA!!!!!!!!!!!! Wait, what was I saying????…………………………get it?

    • Bill Braskey

      All the Bank corruption, the growing Government totalitarianism police state (the phony war on drugs, the prison business, stop and frisk, illegal DUI checkpoints, the NSA, the NDAA, etc.), and The Federal Reserve… These are the things people need to pay attention to.

      • paying attention is what we’ve been doing and all it does is make things worse…it’s time for doing. but people are too dis attached from reality and what really matters for us to come together…….on a side note, Roman Empire was live for 900 years, Morocco ruled Spain for 600 years before Christopher Columbus…Merica is only 236 years old…get my drift?

  • nope

    Chomsky completely ignores sports as a ground for political action though. Did Muhammad Ali or Tommie Smith and John Carlos participate in training the masses in jingoism, or did they teach resistance? What about the statement made by the mere existence of the Green Bay Packers and what it says about community control and operating a little outside the boundaries of the for-profit system? And why have the Israelis continuously sought to suppress Palestinian football?

  • mscognizance Chomsky may tire of sports, but he does like money. Football players make lots of money; Chomsky should like that part of it.

    • Bryan Munn

      whoah. link goes to weird anti-semite website.

      • mscognizance

        Did they say anything incorrect about Chomsky? Actually,they should like Chomsky; he is against Israel.

  • Mason Byrne

    If only the world could embrace, say chess, with the same corporate backing, money, influence and greed, then maybe we could rationally embrace beliefs or morals that respect and admire critical thinking, informative questioning and desire for wisdom. But, let’s not fool ourselves that fantasy football, professional sports statistical probabilities and player performance ratings come close to critical life thinking.

  • Ernst Junger

    Hitherto unthinking naked ape discovers politics. What a faggot.

    • John

      0/10 trolling attempt

      Please come back and try again next time

  • Paul Burke

    Whenever talking about sport you can not nail it down properly without talking about the business – the very real business- the cash business of gambling….big, big money changes hands every Sunday – that in and of itself is a distraction and has very real social and political ramifications. What I also find fascinating is the transition of the sport mentality to politics with team allegiance trumping common sense. As if one team winning is all that matters or if another team adopts a policy first formed by the other team that policy is now no good because its being championed by the other team. Double standards abound and in fact are chronic but make no difference to the obsessed fan whether sport or politics. Certainly not a way to run an honest society – then again honesty is all out of fashion.

  • Sean Cavanagh

    Don’t trust the AP article. Listen to this extended interview:

    His decision was far more complex than just inspiration from Chomsky and The Dalai Lama.

    – The money just wasn’t enough to inspire him to risk his long term health
    – Didn’t enjoy the game anymore, and concern that playing less than 100% might get a teammate injured

    and so on. I’m 1/3 the way though the interview and haven’t heard any particular philosopher mentioned.

    • Ocelotl Chimalpahin

      Yeah but that isn’t click baitey enough! You gotta reduce it to a soundbite!

  • why not continue the contract and then use the $1 million to retire early . now he’ll have to find a regular job which means less time to read

    • Sean Cavanagh

      Because one more year of NFL football might have scrambled his brains for life. Because he’s got enough money already to do what he wants.

  • JC

    quit after the nonsensical spouting of one of the biggest fraudulent
    moral coward/bullshit artist/hypocrites on the planet? Chomksy has
    become a VERY wealthy man with his tirades against capitalism. Minor
    loss for the Broncos, but major loss of brain for Moffit. If that
    asshole Chomsky told me the sky was blue, I’d be suspicious til a
    credible source confirmed it.

    • navyddg37

      Suspicious of Chomsky? Try fact checking Chomsky against the NFL’s Roger Goodell, or the league’s discredited Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee. Wake up. Watch “League of Denial”, and listen to the Moffit interview (linked below). Moffit is a thoughtful and insightful man who walked away from the NFL before post concussion syndrome, CTE, Alzheimer’s disease, and/or Parkinson’s disease destroyed his brain. He also describes the destructive NFL lifestyle for players and coaches.

    • Kevin Gunderson

      If you can name one lie from Chomsky’s mouth I’d do a chicken dance and wear a funny hat in public for a whole 24hrs. Also, the sky is empirically blue.

      • JC

        I didn’t say he lies. I said he’s a hypocritical bullshit artist. He rails against the capitalist system while amassing a huge amount of personal wealth.

  • Jesse Ventura also went this way, leaving wrestling to interrogate the politics of exclusion. I’m not sure if Chomsky would approve of Ventura, but my money’s on Ventura.

  • Michael

    If he was playing defensive line and was spending his working life disrupting the order of his opponents, it would probably be a better fit for a philosophical anarchist.

  • Michael Lang

    Anyone who would listen to Chomsky is an imbecile.

  • Leif Christian
  • Jabo9999

    Very interesting comparison of Chomsky and Buckley on 3 critical issues. Surprising conclusion.

  • Chomsky is a doofy genocide apologist and quack. Cambodians abhor Chomsky for his calling reports of genocide and the Khmer Rouge exaggerated.
    Chomsky believes killing is wrong, except when terrorists and communists do it, and then, of course, killing is justified because it’s a response to the West.
    Convicted terrorist Aafia Siddiqui now serving life in prison, said in court: “I am a student of Noam Chomsky.”
    Anyone who challenges Chomsky gets his, “You’re just not reading me correctly” response. Wrong! The reason Chomsky is regarded as a joke is because people have read him correctly.

  • Robert

    One thing you notice is that the Patriots, who began the season almost strictly as a press-man coverage team, have played a lot more zone in recent weeks.

  • TronSheridan

    Who cares why he quit. It’s his prerogative to quit for any reason whatsoever. It’s hard to make choices like this, I’ve had to do it before (trading money for happiness) and I hope he finds happiness.

  • Catalina Longora

    The comments on this proves Chomsky correct.