Child Gladiators

The new reality show Friday Night Tykes premiered last week just in time to whet the appetites of blood-thirsty football fans as they ready to watch the Super Bowl. Friday Night Tykes aired last Tuesday night on the Esquire Network. This show focuses on eight-year-old players in the Texas Youth Football Association. Tykes reminds me of Toddlers and Tiaras, but it's manly man entertainment even though these pint-sized athletes don't shave yet. The camera follows practice sessions as the boys undergo verbal threats by their coaches to hurt their opponents, and if they don't, they are humiliated. "I want you to put it in his helmet and I don't care if he don't get up." At the games, huge cheering crowds encourage even more brutal behavior.

Friday Night Tykes' high definition cameras capture the sight and sound of repeated helmet-to-helmet collisions. For a moment, the camera stops on a boy lying motionless facedown on the field. Another boy after being hit in a tackle is lying on his back and crying. The coach pulls him up and sends him back in. The television audience can watch in living color as one boy's face flushed so red it was scary. He vomited a shooting geyser while the coach screamed like a marine sergeant to finish upchucking. "I don't care how much pain you're in; you don't quit!"

Every day there are more news stories about football-acquired concussions causing dementia, psychosis and death.

Superstar, Joe Namath, admitted on Piers Morgan Live that he had incurred brain damage. "I can count the times that I had situations where I hit the ground, hit in the head, lose it, you don't know for a while... We used to call it 'getting your bell rung.'"

President Barak Obama recently said, "I wouldn't let my son play pro football."

When I see parents handing over their own children to sustain physical injury and verbal abuse as a form of television entertainment, it puts a fire in my belly.

There is MADD to protect our children from drunk drivers and we have AMBER Alert to help find our abducted children. But where is the outrage against sending these children onto the battlefield so that the networks can make millions? This is so wrong, America, on every level.