Malcolm Gladwell: Questions To Offensive Play

This essay sample was donated by a student to help the academic community. Papers provided by EduBirdie writers usually outdo students' samples.

Cite this essay cite-image


The subtitle of Malcolm Gladwell’s article asks, “How different are dogfighting and football?” Does he explicitly answer the question? What does he think? What do you think?

In his article, Gladwell doesn’t explicitly answer the question but he hints that football is similar to dogfighting as well as stock-car racing. On page 655, Gladwell quotes Carl Semencic when he’s talking about dog fights and when a dog sees their owner rooting for them they work twice as hard to please them. Gladwell then goes on comparing it to football players wanting to please their coaches even after they’ve been injured. This shows that Gladwell believes that dogfighting and football isn't all that different. I also believe that dogfighting aren’t that different because in both the “players” will continue to go at it even if they have been injured and when they see that someone else is cheering them on then they wouldn’t want to let them down.

What elements of fiction does Gladwell use to create his story?

Some elements that Gladwell uses throughout the story are conflict and character. The main point of this article is to address the issue of chronic traumatic encephalopathy and people who play football may have to deal with this disease but also have to deal with their coaches and wanting to make them proud and also their fans. Gladwell also introduces multiple characters who all just give facts about certain things. For example Gladwell introduces Kyle Turley, Michael Vick, Bennet Omalu, Ann McKee and Kevin Guskiewicz.

Why do you think Gladwell introduces Kyle Turley so early in his piece? What are your impressions of Turley? How does Gladwell’s characterization of him help Gladwell develop his argument?

Gladwell introduces Turley early in the piece to make the reader see someone’s experience and what they had to go through with chronic traumatic encephalopathy. When I was reading about Turley, I was wondering why he didn’t go to the hospital knowing that something was wrong with him and why he didn’t take care of himself. As Gladwell writes about Turley it goes to show what all those hits can do to someone’s brain and how they are wired when it comes to being praised that they feel the need to continue playing. On page 645, “‘I was really trying to use my head more, because I was so frustrated, and the coaches on the sidelines are, like, ‘Yeah. We’re going to win this game. He’s going to lead the team.’ That’s football.’” When Gladwell found out that dogs would work twice as hard when their owner would cheer them, this quote shows that football players did the same thing.

The article shifts gears gears in paragraph 9, moving from football to dogfighting. What strategies does Gladwell use to introduce the subject of dogfighting and Michael Vick? How does he establish his credibility on the subject?

When Gladwell introduces Michael Vick and his relation to illegal dogfighting, Gladwell gives background information on what happened, along with what other people have said about Vick and dogfighting. Gladwell establishes his credibility on the story of Michael Vick by including quotes from “the commissioner of the league, Roger Goodell.”(645) Other quotes from Rhonda Evans and Craig Forsyth who wrote about one of the dogfights that happened.

Save your time!
We can take care of your essay
  • Proper editing and formatting
  • Free revision, title page, and bibliography
  • Flexible prices and money-back guarantee
Place Order

Paragraphs 16-29 are about research into chronic traumatic encephalopathy (C.T.E.), a condition that has symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s but is the result of head trauma. How does Gladwell make this scientific study accessible to the lay reader? How does he bring the statistics of the disease to life?

Gladwell makes the scientific study understandable to the reader by explaining everything that McKee has done such as in the last paragraph of page 649. He also brings in other neuropathologists own research on chronic traumatic encephalopathy like Bennet Omalu. He brings the statistics to life by including the findings of the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research and by including anecdotes of people who had C.T.E. as said by McKee.

Why does Gladwell provide some personal background for neuropathologist Ann McKee in paragraph 28?

Gladwell includes background information on McKee to show her outside of being a neuropathologist and her own personal opinion. It also shows the truth behind a person's life and how the disease could impact someone’s life tremendously.

Having read “Offensive Play,” what do you think is the answer to the question Gladwell poses in paragraph 29: “is the kind of injury being uncovered by McKee and Omalu incidental to the game of football or inherent in it?” How is that question connected to the question he asks in the next paragraph: “So what is football? Is it dogfighting or is it stock-car racing?”

I think that chronic traumatic encephalopathy is incidental to the game of football because there may be more people who are susceptible to getting hurt easily while others can go on for a little longer not getting as hurt. These two questions are connected because it’s inherent that dogs will get hurt fighting while in stock-car racing its incidental because now “NASCAR mandates stronger seats, better seat belts and harnesses, and ignition kill switches.”(650) Now they won’t have to worry too much about big car crashes because everything got upgraded and safer.

Paragraph 49 comprises only two sentences. In what ways are those two sentences central to Gladwell’s argument? How are the ideas in that paragraph illustrated in paragraph 51?

Those two sentences are important to Gladwell’s argument because it shows what happens when trust is betrayed in both football and dogfighting. In paragraph 51, Turley has a friend that took a hit for the team but passed out for a second in an ice bath and told himself that he was fine. Trust was betrayed when he took a hit for the team but no one came by his side to ask if he was fine. The act of social reparation is Turkey’s friend staying on the team and getting praised instead of being looked after his hit.

How does Gladwell appeal to logos in the conclusion of “Offensive Play”?

Gladwell appeals to logos by including what Ira Casson said which was that not much can change in football to make it a safer sport because then people would stop watching it and it won’t be interesting without all the tackling that is done. He also uses a quote from “Dogmen and Dogfights” which says that winner or loser, they will always feel some way towards the other.

Make sure you submit a unique essay

Our writers will provide you with an essay sample written from scratch: any topic, any deadline, any instructions.

Cite this paper

Malcolm Gladwell: Questions To Offensive Play. (2022, March 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 20, 2024, from
“Malcolm Gladwell: Questions To Offensive Play.” Edubirdie, 17 Mar. 2022,
Malcolm Gladwell: Questions To Offensive Play. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 20 Apr. 2024].
Malcolm Gladwell: Questions To Offensive Play [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Mar 17 [cited 2024 Apr 20]. Available from:

Join our 150k of happy users

  • Get original paper written according to your instructions
  • Save time for what matters most
Place an order

Fair Use Policy

EduBirdie considers academic integrity to be the essential part of the learning process and does not support any violation of the academic standards. Should you have any questions regarding our Fair Use Policy or become aware of any violations, please do not hesitate to contact us via

Check it out!
search Stuck on your essay?

We are here 24/7 to write your paper in as fast as 3 hours.