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As a mathematics professor at Yale, he had kept a careful eye on college football for years before he felt compelled to speak out.
With the 2019 football season about to begin, it is worth recalling what this professor had to say.
People - Epithet - Game - Football - Point
"It will surprise many good people, who have been accustomed to hear such an epithet as 'brutal' applied to the game of football that I should claim for it as the first point of superiority over other college athletic sports that it is eminently an intellectual game," he wrote.
Richards sought to rebut football's critics while explaining his belief that football excelled as both an intellectual and moral exercise.
Faults - Forms - Sport - Game - Exercise
"I hope to prove that with all its faults it is one of the best forms of athletic sport which can be invented; that by no other game or exercise practiced by young men are the players themselves so much benefited as by football," he wrote, "that the colleges ought to be as much interested in keeping it up as are the most enthusiastic football players themselves; that the public, who have boys to educate, ought to acquaint themselves with the subject."
"Watching the games when possible," Richards wrote, "they ought not to allow themselves to be beguiled into condemnations of the sport by sensational writers, who inveigh against it either because they know nothing of it, or because they have determined to know nothing of it, since it does not square with their 'historic and traditional idea' of things suitable to a college."
Football - Game - Ingenuity - Mind - Mastery
Football, he argued, is not a simple game. It requires ingenuity, a focused mind and a practical mastery of a complex set of rules.
"A game of football between contestants evenly matched in other respects is won by the superior mental work of the winning team as embodied in the generalship of...
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