Friday Night Lights Social Issues and Coaching Ethics Essay

Pages: 8 (2499 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Sociology

Friday Night Lights

The movie that I have selected i.e. Friday Night Lights is based on the town of Odessa in Texas, USA. The movie portrays good examples of the social issues and coaching ethics. In this movie, the town has shown to have a poor economy and is obsessed with their football team's performance known as the Permian Panthers. This leads to the fact that the coach of the football team is paid large salary just to provide a platform for the team to attain football scholarships in a good college. Similarly, it creates pressure on the players as they know that they must perform in order to improve their living conditions. Thus, the aspects of poverty and economic disparity are shown in the movie. They are of great importance in today's era as conditions have worsened since 1988.

In addition to that, the movie portrays unethical coaching techniques of the head coach. He bullies the players into performing above their level. This is continuing in the current age as state coach forces the players into performing without considering the players' mental or physical state. As a result, players are pressured as they have to deal with their personal as well as professional life. The star player of the team, Boobie Miles, is injured intentionally in the first match by the opposing team in order to stop him from playing.

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The movie starts with the issue of overpaying the state coach and people on the radio expressing their opinion that if the coach can win them the championship, then it is alright for him to take such a large salary. On the other hand, the players consider themselves to be special in town as they are treated like superstars. Thus, the issue of social status disparity is also shown in the movie. One of the star players, Boobie Miles acts like a celebrity in the town, which shows the image that is created in the mind of college footballers that they are special. A number of careers are destroyed due to the inability of players to convert their potential into success. This is the result of over-confidence that players are plagued by early on during their career.

TOPIC: Essay on Friday Night Lights Social Issues and Coaching Ethics Assignment

Racism has been an ongoing issue in Texas during that period. The movie has also shown the element of racism among the community. The black players were not as accepted as the white players and they faced a number of problems during the movie. In a number of scenes, the black players were stereotyped as tough, who could withstand punishment from the opposition. Thus, it was suggested that they should play out of position in order to protect other players. The movie is also indicative of the rivalries between different states in the U.S.A. due to football. Such rivalry is not an issue if exhibited in a good manner but it may turn into violent behavior and acts, which is harmful to the society.

The movie is of considerable importance from a social point-of-view due to the fact that it shows the lives of economically poor people and how they deal with their life. The issues in this movie are still present in the society such as social class disparity, racism, unethical coaching, poverty and the inability of talented young people to convert their talent into success. In addition to that, the most important aspect shown in this movie is the socio economic disparity that is formed between various classes. Such disparities prohibit the natural development of the society as people are more concerned about meeting their basic necessities while watching the rich get richer.

Friday Night Lights is essentially a sports drama but it succeeds in exposing the primary issues within the American society and acts as an indicator as to what steps might be taken on micro as well as macro level to reduce the intensity of such problems. The reason for this is that if such issues are not removed, there would be lesser chances for the middle and lower classes to progress in their lives.

Primary Issues:


Poverty has affected the American society significantly as a number of people are challenged by the issue of meeting basic necessities. This is the reason that youngsters from poor families choose to pursue a career in sports as it seems the appropriate route towards improving living condition to them.

Contemporary Importance:

Poverty is one of the main issues highlighted in the movie. It is an important social issue as quite a considerable amount of people in USA is below the poverty line. According to a census in the country, around 46.2 million people across the country are affected by poverty with the unemployment rate at a record high of 9.6% (Poverty USA, 2013).

Social Status:

This is another important issue highlighted during the movie. People who enjoy fame are treated more favorably as opposed to people with anonymity. This creates disparity in social classes and leads to frustration among the community as they consider themselves hard done by the system.

Contemporary Importance:

Those people that have influence on the government or other high ranked institutions tend to move upwards more conveniently as opposed to those people who rely heavily on merit to succeed (Economist, 2010). Such disparity creates a perception in the minds of the ordinary folk that they will never be given equal opportunity in competition with famed people.

Economic Disparity:

The Permian Panthers coach has been paid a hefty salary in order to bring success to the team. In comparison, the locals were earning significantly lower income than the coach. This issue is still prevalent in the American society as athletes and coaches are paid insane salaries for their jobs.

Contemporary Importance:

Those people that carry out regular jobs are not compensated as the sports celebrities. This creates economic disparity in the society as the buying power of the rich increases and that of the middle class decreases. In times of financial crisis, the upper class Americans have, on average, increased their income two fold while 80% of the middle and lower class Americans exhibited a decline in their income (Forbes, 2012).


Racism has been portrayed in this movie as it was a serious issue in Odessa, Texas during that period. This issue still exists in the country but to a lower extent as opposed to that time. Nevertheless, racism is an intolerable offense that should not be prevalent in any shape or form.

Contemporary Importance:

Sports industry as well as American society still experience racism, which badly affects the performance of society on a personal and professional level. This issue has increased to such an alarming extent in the U.S. that a recent poll showed 51% of the citizens expressing disrespectful attitude towards the black community (Brazile, 2012).

Coaching Ethics:

The sports industry has experienced variable coaching tactics over the years. The one constant that has remained during the entire history of sports is the influence that coaches have on the outcome of the game.

Contemporary Importance:

Unethical coaching includes a number of aspects such as influencing refereeing decisions, preventing an opposition player from playing by directing a player to injure him and telling the players to use unfair tactics during the match. Such unethical acts from coaches have led to a number of serious implications on the team and have also resulted in severe penalties (Kramer and Pittinsky, 2012).


The issue of segregation has also been highlighted in this movie as the black players were treated inferior than the white players. Due to such treatment, the problem of segregation arose in Odessa and the black players were separated from the white players. Although segregation was deemed illegal in 1950s, it is still experienced in major cities of America. This alarming situation has led to a number of problems in the society. Such problems include individualism, conflicting attitudes, frustration, animosity and many others. The current scenario is not too different from the one observed during 1980s but it has improved slightly.

Contemporary Importance:

A recent study has shown that racial segregation exists even on college levels in this day and age (Nolan, 2013). The study also showed that mere 13.7% students in colleges are black while the rest are white. Thus, it can be said that black people still prefer enrolling their children in separate colleges.

Personal Opinion

The issues illustrated in the movie, "Friday Night Lights," are reflective of the society that we live in today. The movie has successfully elaborated the important issues and its implications on the town of Odessa, Texas during the oil crisis in 1980s. There has been segregation among the various races, which deprives the nation of unity and reduces the chances of growth. This also means that people are motivated by personal gains and disregard any act that would result in the direct benefit of the society as a whole.

In terms of economic situation, one can argue that it has worsened in America with regards to middle… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Friday Night Lights Social Issues and Coaching Ethics" Essay in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Friday Night Lights Social Issues and Coaching Ethics.  (2013, March 27).  Retrieved December 2, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Friday Night Lights Social Issues and Coaching Ethics."  27 March 2013.  Web.  2 December 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Friday Night Lights Social Issues and Coaching Ethics."  March 27, 2013.  Accessed December 2, 2021.