Joshua Pederson teaches ethics at Boston University and is the author of “Sin Sick: Moral Injury in War and Literature.”

My son is 7, and he hates sports. Just hates them. It’s not that he dislikes physical activity. He loves swimming and going to the playground and riding his scooter; he even likes gym at school. But the second he gets the sense that I’d like him to try a sport — basketball, T-ball — he absolutely shuts down. One spring, I signed him up for soccer. Every Saturday morning, he took to the field — the edge of the field: standing sullenly, arms crossed, refusing to play.

For a long time, this was discouraging. I worried that I was failing at one of the basic tasks of parenthood. Wasn’t I supposed to teach my son to love sports? Don’t sports teach children how to be good team players, stronger leaders, more resilient humans?

Maybe. But over the past several weeks, a spate of stories have driven home for me that all too often, sports also expose our kids — and our boys in particular — to a nefarious brand of toxic masculinity that may cancel out these other benefits.

The splashiest recent story involved Jon Gruden, who resigned from his post as coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. In a leaked batch of emails between Gruden and other football executives, the National Football League’s onetime golden boy complained about the rise of female referees, used the term “p---y” to denigrate other men and shared topless photos of cheerleaders from another team. He also railed against Roger Goodell, saying the NFL commissioner supposedly forced other teams to draft “queers.”

In another story unfolding in the NFL, Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson has been accused of sexual misconduct and sexual assault by women hired to provide massages. At least 10 women have complained to the Houston Police Department about Watson’s behavior, and 22 civil lawsuits have been brought against him. Mystifyingly, neither the Texans nor the NFL has taken disciplinary action, and recent reporting by ESPN and other news outlets seems mainly concerned with his trade value.

But such problems are, of course, not confined to the world of football. In late September came reports documenting disturbing patterns of sexual coercion, abuse and harassment by multiple male coaches and executives in the National Women’s Soccer League. League executives were reported to have repeatedly ignored or played down credible complaints filed by players throughout the league’s roughly 10 years of existence. In the past few months, three head coaches have been dismissed following charges of misconduct.

These and many other stories lend credence to philosopher Martha C. Nussbaum’s argument — in a new book, “Citadels of Pride: Sexual Abuse, Accountability and Reconciliation” — that sports is a stronghold of toxic masculinity and sexual violence. In an interview this year, Nussbaum singled out men’s college athletics as particularly depraved, arguing that those involved in Division I sports foster a “culture of deep sexual corruption” where “women are basically pimped out when they are trying to recruit star athletes.”

But toxic masculinity doesn’t hurt only women and members of the LGBTQ community. It also dehumanizes straight men and boys, and has the potential to stunt their moral development.

At least that was my experience. I attended elementary school in a tiny town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and my gym teacher — let’s call him Mr. Jones — also coached the high school’s basketball and football teams. I was not an athletic child, and I struggled in P.E. But far from encouraging me, for three years Mr. Jones didn’t even bother to learn my name.

I’m a teacher now, too, and can’t imagine what would compel someone to treat a student with such callous disregard. At the time, it was a family joke, but it left a lasting impression. The message I got: As a young boy, if I wasn’t good at sports, I barely registered as a person.

Which returns me to my son, who is as bright, sensitive, curious and kind a child as I ever could hope to have. I shudder at the thought of his having to endure the kind of silent scorn Mr. Jones inflicted on me. And I’ve been growing more uncomfortable with the idea that his participation in sports means he could be forced to witness — perhaps even internalize — the ways some coaches, athletes and executives talk about or treat women.

So I’m done pushing him to play sports. I’ll encourage him to follow his other passions, for robots and drawing and cooking. And maybe I’ll end up shielding him from the Grudens, the Watsons, the Mr. Joneses of the world — and the degraded brand of manhood they allow, embody and teach.