I ran across this and just had to share a clip. I have been a frequent critic of the NFL for quite a long time now much to some friends slight dismay. We throw an anti super bowl party every few years. Great food, open bar, lots of long time friends and no football. Or if we do put it on it’s to point and laugh MST3K style. Who else can give an employee or free agent contractor a needle for pain and push him back on the job? Who else would casually ignore real solid medical data on the head injuries like this and continue? Tobacco companies (lungs and heart of course) I guess but that’s about it. It’s a game that attracts the brutes among us. Then it makes them faster, stronger and “better”. Until it in fact wrecks some of their minds and or their bodies.
So when football fans read the linked article what will they do? Flame me on twitter? Go with College ball? Be that as it may I’m not watching the NFL.
The crisis around head injuries—or rather the NFL’s nonchalance about head injury—forced me out of the game. But since I’ve been gone, I’ve grown sensitive about the body in ways that I wasn’t before. Only now has it begun to occur to me that a torn ACL is not merely an abstract that will keep my favorite player off of the field, but a part of the human body that has been damaged. That damage will likely haunt that particular human body long past its playing days.
Part of this is my own mix of spirituality and atheism. I generally think of the ghost not in the machine, but as the machine. My body is me, and while my brain is particularly important, when I dislocate an ankle I have injured part of myself. Anyone who is being honest about football knows that injuring people is part of the game. This film of Deacon Jones has always been a favorite of mine, for both its eloquence (“My lateral movements along with my initial speed was just fantastic.”) and candor:
“”You got this 260 pounds up to 4.5 and you got an angle on him, he should go to the hospital, and that’s exactly what I tried to do. No remorse in my heart, I tried to put him in the hospital every time I tackled. I wanted to hit and put my back into it, you know, Boom! That’s gonna provide that shot that’s gonna put the intimidating fear of God into that running back. Let him know and make him go back to that huddle and say to that quarterback. “Dammit, I’m not running in Deacon Jones’ area anymore.” So each time he came over there, I tried to tear his damn head off.””