Karl Brill

Karl Brill
Sport(s) Football
Playing career
1904-1905 Harvard
Position(s) Tackle
Accomplishments and honors
First-team All-American, 1905

Karl Brill was an American football player. He played at the tackle position for the Harvard Crimson football team in 1904 and 1905 and was selected as a first-team All-American in 1905. As a sophomore in December 1905, Brill announced that he would not continue playing football. He said, "I came to Harvard to get a degree as a mining engineer. For the last two years 'Varsity football has played havoc with my studies. Already I have been forced to drop work in my freshman and sophomore years. If I play football again it means that I shall fail to get my degree in four years, and I cannot afford a fifth. It's either play football and fail to get a degree or abandon the gridiron and get a degree."[1][2] In addition to the toll the game had taken on his studies, Bill denounced football on moral grounds, stating that the human body was not mean to withstand the strain that football demands and adding, "I don't believe the game is right. I dislike it on moral grounds. It is a mere gladiatorial combat. It is brutal throughout."[3]


  1. "Harvard's Tackle Give Up Football". The New York Times. 1905-12-05.
  2. "BRILL ASSAILS FOOTBALL; Harvard's Retiring Tackle Attacks the Game in a Surprising Statement". The New York Times. 1905-12-20.
  3. "Why Karl Brill Renounces Football". The Friend: A Religious and Literary Journal. 1905-12-30. p. 200.
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