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A Junior Seau Legacy – The NFL Needs To Man Up

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Junior Seau shot himself in the chest because he knew the truth. A lifetime of hard hits destroyed his life. Even though he had no idea of the facts when he was playing, he must have known that if you drive you helmet into another guy’s face mask for a living bad stuff will eventually happen. That kind of swift and vicious grace always carries a price. And he paid it. Like LT in his hey-day, Seau was a special linebacker, a true great who could turn a game on a dime with one sack or forced fumble.

Should we be deprived of watching greats like Seau play the way they want to play? No. If everyone who plays, coaches, and runs football is honest about its dangers then there is no reason for change. Life is a risk. If someone knowingly wants to risk a degenerative brain disease by playing a game they have a perfect right to. And if we’re happy watching in the same knowledge, that too is fine and dandy.

But life is not that simple. Like Seau, the NFL must have known that hard hits would have a long term price. Concussions sell tickets, and make big money for the league, so the hits were brushed off and the gladiators gutted it out. And now the league has a problem. Because instead of saying, “this is the game and of course there are risks”, it tried to obfuscate and pretend it cared about “safety”.  It looks like it lied, and will get twisted up in contortions trying to avoid having to actually deliver the “safety” it purports to care about, knowing full well that if it did truly deliver on it, the NFL as we know it now would be finished. No hits. No viewers. No dough. Simple as that.

But there’s a far easier and more honest approach. Morally, the only way to proceed is to be open to the public and the players that hits are lethal over time, and to be bold enough not to change the game in any meaningful way. That means making high school and college kids completely aware of the facts too. Many prospective players would opt not to continue, but many others would take the risk, filling out college and professional ranks with as much skill as they do now. And if they do, knowingly, there’s no reason why one shouldn’t watch. After all, Sumo wrestlers fatten up to go gut to gut and start dying off around sixty. The stands in Japan are packed, and Sumo is huge on TV. Everyone knows the risks and everyone’s happy.

Honesty is the key. In other words, throughout organized Football from Middle School up, everyone, starting at the very top with the NFL, needs to man up.

Written by coolrebel

January 10, 2013 at 11:46 pm

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