NFL facing major test of credibility, ethics

Mike Webster of the Pittsburgh Steelers

Mike Webster of the Pittsburgh Steelers

In 1970, when the U.S. Air Force transferred my Dad and our family to the Pittsburgh area, it didn’t take me long at all to become a diehard Pittsburgh Steelers fan. I’ve remained a stalwart lover of the black and gold ever since.

It wasn’t easy at first, because back then the Steelers were terrible. They went 1-13 in 1969 and 5-9 in 1970. But eventually, with a brutal defense led by men such as “Mean Joe” Greene and my personal favorite, a hard-bitten linebacker by the name of Jack Lambert, they turned it around. By the end of the ’70s, the Steelers had won four Super Bowls in a six-year period, becoming in my mind the greatest football team of the modern era. And they did it by being tough.

The center of that team, literally and in some ways figuratively, was a man named Mike Webster, now in the NFL Hall of Fame. Webster was as tough as they come, playing in 150 consecutive games at one of the most physically draining positions in the game. But what none of us knew for a long time was that “Iron Mike” was paying a very stiff price for our entertainment.

Once he left the game, he suffered from serious dementia and other symptoms of brain damage. He found he could no longer function socially. He went into isolation, refusing help or even contact with his former teammates. After his death in 2002 at the age of 50, an autopsy determined that Webster suffered chronic traumatic encephalopathy — in plain talk, serious brain damage caused by repeated multiple blows to the head.

And it was far from an isolated case. Webster was one of the first on what has become a dismayingly long list of players — a list of hundreds, perhaps thousands — to be suspected of suffering such damage.

For years, though, the National Football League and even its players union refused to admit the problem existed. It fought claims by Webster’s heirs that he had been disabled by his years in the trenches, a battle that the league eventually lost in court. Even after that loss, the NFL continued to turn a stoically blind eye to conclusive medical evidence of serious, trauma-induced brain damage in player after player. When it grudgingly changed its rules to protect its quarterbacks, it did so less to protect their health than to keep its most marketable, expensive commodities on the field.

But the quiet carnage continued.

Just last year Dave Duerson, a one-time defensive star for the Chicago Bears who was suffering from mental-health issues, committed suicide by putting a bullet through his chest. In a text message to his family, he told them that he did so to preserve his brain as evidence of what a career in the NFL had done to him.

An autopsy confirmed Duerson’s self-diagnosis: chronic traumatic encephalopathy, same as Webster and others.

“The pathology was severe in areas of the brain that influence impulse control, inhibition, emotion and memory,” Dr. Ann McKee, a Boston neurologist said after studying Duerson’s brain tissue.

That echoed the sad path of Shane Dronett, who helped lead the Atlanta Falcons defense to Super Bowl XXXIII, the highlight of the Falcons’ franchise to date. After struggling with mental-health problems, Dronett committed suicide in 2009 at the age of 38. He too was diagnosed post-mortem with chronic traumatic encephalopathy. (While symptoms of the condition are well-known, its presence can be confirmed only by autopsy.)

As a result, as many as several hundred former NFL players are now listed as having filed suit, charging negligence among other things and seeking damages from the hugely profitable league. Dronett’s estate is among those listed as suing, as are Tommy Nobis, the Falcons’ first-ever draft choice and star, and longtime Falcons Fulton Kuykendall and Lester Archambeau.

Under immense legal, political and medical pressure, the NFL has belatedly responded. In recent seasons it has begun to change its rules to better protect its players, fining players who violate those rules and most importantly treating concussions much more seriously. On the surface, at least, things seemed to be changing a bit.

Then came the New Orleans Saints scandal. Just last month, we learned that Saints coaches had long run an unofficial bounty system, paying defensive players to target, disable and maim particular players on the opposing team. The NFL responded to the discovery appropriately, suspending the Saints’ head coach for a year and the defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams, indefinitely.

Last weekend, however, things got worse when a tape recording was released of a locker-room “pep talk” by Williams prior to the NFC championship game between the Saints and the San Francisco 49ers in January 2012. (The profanity-filled tape is available in its entirety here.)

In the tape, Williams pointed out to his defensive players that a particular 49ers receiver had recently suffered a concussion and “we need to (expletive) put a lick on him right now.”

He directed them to attack another player’s knee ligament, and told his players to concentrate on hitting the opponents’ heads at every opportunity.

“We’re gonna dominate the line of scrimmage and we’re gonna kill the (expletive) head,” he told his team. “Every single one of you, before you get off the pile, affect the head. Early. Affect the head. Continue, touch and hit the head.”

“Kill the head and the body will die. Kill the head and the body will die,” he reminds them again. “We’ve got to do everything in the world to make sure we kill (running back) Frank Gore’s head.”

The reaction to the tape has been interesting. Some players, former and current, have claimed to be shocked by it. Others, however, shrug and wonder what the fuss is all about. As former 49ers lineman and NFL analyst Randy Cross tweeted:

“NFL Media Nanny State up in arms about FB coach espousing violent behavior. U people r clueless about the game.”

Yeah, maybe so. Maybe we are, or used to be, clueless and willfully naive, just as the league itself had been willfully clueless and naive for so long. But that’s no longer the case for those of us willing to see.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has taken the Saints controversy seriously, handing down appropriately severe punishments. But it’s also important that the Saints franchise, Williams and suspended head coach Sean Payton aren’t made the scapegoats for a problem that clearly runs much deeper.

The real scandal isn’t that one team took things too far, because the overwhelming medical and scientific evidence tells us that the entire sport has taken things too far and has done so for decades. The scandal is that even when played by the rules, the game destroys those who play it, those whom fans like me celebrate and cheer on. And that has to be changed if the sport is to continue to thrive. It has become much more difficult to watch and root knowing what a high human price is being paid for mere entertainment.

This is a far more serious issue than the steroid era in baseball, because it goes to the core of how football is played and taught and refereed. And it says a lot about human nature that some people who were justifiably horrified by the Michael Vick dogfighting scandal — “how could he do that just for sport!?” — are willing to tolerate permanent, debilitating, life-ruining head injuries among fellow human beings for the sake of a different sport.

– Jay Bookman

299 comments Add your comment

Peadawg

April 10th, 2012
10:28 am

Ban Gregg Williams from the NFL for life. Period.

My question is CAN charges be brought against the players who participated? They SHOULD…but I’m no lawyer.

Mr Right

April 10th, 2012
10:28 am

Wow, a non GOP bashing blog!

Becky

April 10th, 2012
10:29 am

This is among a list of reasons to watch college ball only.

getalife

April 10th, 2012
10:30 am

Oh please.

Coaches try to fire up their players.

The are ruining the game .

Bounty gate is ridiculous unless they investigate all the teams for this kind of talk.

Becky

April 10th, 2012
10:32 am

I could not even tell you who was in the Super Bowl much less who won just a few months ago. Overpaid drugged up jerks.

And I think Michael Vick should still be in jail, not collecting an enormous paycheck playing ball.

Peadawg

April 10th, 2012
10:33 am

Aaaaaaaand there’s getalife to defend Gregg Williams.

Pathetic. F’ing pathetic.

Adam

April 10th, 2012
10:34 am

NFL? Ugh. Gregg Williams is gone, there’s no other outcome possible given the tapes. Other than that, I have no comment.

getalife

April 10th, 2012
10:35 am

pea,

My coach told me to take out the quarterback all the time.

I tried to play like Jack Lambert.

Real football not touch godell football.

Atlanta Mom

April 10th, 2012
10:35 am

How much of this attititude has filtered down to college ball?

barking frog

April 10th, 2012
10:35 am

I will get upset about the professionals after something has been done about the high schools
where children are maimed for life also.

B.A. Baracus

April 10th, 2012
10:36 am

The wimperization of America continues. Peadwag grow some cajones, jock-sniffer.

Jm

April 10th, 2012
10:37 am

The NFL is modern gladiators, and pretty sick

College football is fun and not nearly as sick

But if you really just want to watch sane sports where people don’t destroy each other, just watch almost any other sport

Or take their helmets away. That would change things.

[...] to Original Content From Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog): read more Related Articles Share About Author [...]

Peadawg

April 10th, 2012
10:37 am

I said all that needs to be said.

I’m not going to go in circles with getalife/Baracus/whoever over this.

Next blog…

Bruno

April 10th, 2012
10:39 am

The scandal is that even when played by the rules, the game destroys those who play it, those whom fans like me celebrate and cheer on. And that has to be changed if the sport is to continue to thrive. It has become much more difficult to watch and root knowing what a high human price is being paid for mere entertainment.

Jay–While you may be in the “noble” 10% of the population, most people tune in NFL games specifically for the violence. Ditto for hockey games and NASCAR racing. Living vicariously through others.

I’ve spent my entire career counseling athletes to stay on the sideline for a few extra weeks if necessary before returning from an injury. I’ve strongly urged many parents to reconsider the grueling practice schedules that are associated with youth sports today. IMO, there should be no organized sports before the age of 8, period. Some listen, some don’t.

getalife

April 10th, 2012
10:40 am

pea,

Football is a contact sport.

The players know the risks and get paid very well.

Lets stop ruining the game.

Adam

April 10th, 2012
10:42 am

Peadawg: Next blog…

Srsly…

Joe Hussein Mama

April 10th, 2012
10:42 am

Bruno — “I’ve spent my entire career counseling athletes to stay on the sideline for a few extra weeks if necessary before returning from an injury. I’ve strongly urged many parents to reconsider the grueling practice schedules that are associated with youth sports today. IMO, there should be no organized sports before the age of 8, period. Some listen, some don’t.”

I take it that your specialty is sports or orthopedic medicine then?

Becky

April 10th, 2012
10:43 am

I would imagine the yahoos watching pro ball watch boxing as well. The cellar dwellers and trailer park trash. IMO

carlosgvv

April 10th, 2012
10:43 am

The Human body is not designed to play football. Providing sufficent protection for players to prevent serious and permanent injuries would change the game beyond recognition and probably lose most of the fan base.

My best friend in high school played football and told me the coaches often encouraged him and other players to break the arms and legs of their opponents whenever possible. I also heard this when I was in college. This was many years ago and I doubt there’s any way to stop it now.

Brosephus™

April 10th, 2012
10:45 am

The scandal is that even when played by the rules, the game destroys those who play it, those whom fans like me celebrate and cheer on. And that has to be changed if the sport is to continue to thrive.

If that is the issue, the the question becomes how do you change the sport to make it safer health wise without changing the nature of the sport itself? Some sports could be made safer without changing the essence of the sport itself. Football doesn’t appear to be one of those sports, IMHO. There is no way to mitigate all the health issues or lessen their impact when you have linebackers now who are 6ft plus, weighing more than 240lbs, and can still run 4.6 speed. The physics of the game itself makes any player almost certain to have a medical issue at some time or another.

Bruno

April 10th, 2012
10:45 am

I will get upset about the professionals after something has been done about the high schools
where children are maimed for life also.

barking frog–Coming from someone who works on athletes on a daily basis, I agree with you. HS coaches routinely push their players to return much too soon from an injury because their reputation–and paycheck–is tied to how many wins they post each year. Too many kids fail to realize that a serious injury as a kid will shadow you your whole life.

My personal advice to parents is that if your kid is exceptional in their sport, and can use their sport as a vehicle for bigger and better things like a college scholarship or to go to the Olympics, then go for it, but expect a long-term tradeoff. For the average young athlete, it’s more important to put fun and safety first.

Jay

April 10th, 2012
10:46 am

Bruno, I’m not immune to any of that.

However, I’ll note that after the death of Dale Earnhardt, NASCAR dramatically increased its commitment to and investment in safety. It also changed many of its practices, including mandatory medical examinations after every accident.

And Getalife, while it may not bother you personally to know that permanent brain damage is being inflicted on a regular basis just to keep you entertained, it bothers enough other people to require that the NFL address it.

Bruno

April 10th, 2012
10:47 am

My coach told me to take out the quarterback all the time.

I tried to play like Jack Lambert.

BTW, getalife, I’ve made a ton of money from people like you over the years.

Brosephus™

April 10th, 2012
10:48 am

I would imagine the yahoos watching pro ball watch boxing as well. The cellar dwellers and trailer park trash. IMO

Not a yahoo, but thanks for trying anyway. I watch most any and all sports. I do not live in a cellar or trailer park. I am gainfully employed and well educated. At one time, I even played catcher in baseball, so I’ve had my fair share of contact as well.

Matti

April 10th, 2012
10:48 am

Do sports beget violence, or simply channel it into an acceptable or profitable form? Hmmm….

getalife

April 10th, 2012
10:50 am

The best part of hitting the quarterback on the blitz was hearing his ribs break.

Now, they wear rib protectors.

I wonder what the 49 ers coach told them to do because they kicked our azz,

Bruno

April 10th, 2012
10:50 am

Joe @ 10:42–Better not to be too specific about careers here, other than speaking in generalities. I will appreciate your respect in that regard. Blogs are better when anonymous.

Thank you in advance.

Brosephus™

April 10th, 2012
10:51 am

However, I’ll note that after the death of Dale Earnhardt, NASCAR dramatically increased its commitment to and investment in safety.

Not just NASCAR either. All motorsports have increased their committment to safety. Sadly, it usually takes a tragic event to spur things on, but NHRA, INDY, and all other sports have greatly increased their efforts at keeping all people at the track, fans included, as safe as possible.

Becky

April 10th, 2012
10:51 am

I’m curious to know getalife’s thoughts on Michael Vick.

getalife

April 10th, 2012
10:52 am

Jay,

Back in the day, we called it getting your bell rung.

Joe Hussein Mama

April 10th, 2012
10:53 am

Bruno — “Joe @ 10:42–Better not to be too specific about careers here, other than speaking in generalities. I will appreciate your respect in that regard. Blogs are better when anonymous. Thank you in advance.”

Fair enough. I shall think of you as the ‘guy who’s probably a sports/orthopedic medicine physician or something like that.’

getalife

April 10th, 2012
10:53 am

Becky,

I am a dog lover so I am not a fan of vick.

Recon 0311 2533

April 10th, 2012
10:53 am

Professional football is an occupation. It’s a dangerous occupation where physical injury can and does occur. Just like other dangerous occupations such as firefighting, law enforcement, combat military, boxing, car racing etc. people can choose to pursue it or choose not to. Having said that I do agree that what took pace in the Saints locker room and probably in other NFL locker rooms placing bounty’s on opposing players has no place in the sport. Team management, coaches and players who place bounty’s or otherwise encourage inflicting serious injury on other players should when caught suffer a permanent ban from the NFL.

ragnar danneskjold

April 10th, 2012
10:55 am

Dr. Sowell today: “Why should being in a professional sport exempt anyone from prosecution for advocating deliberate violence? Recent revelations of such advocacy of violence by an NFL coach should lead to his banishment for life by the NFL, and criminal prosecution by the authorities. If you are serious about reducing violence, you have to be serious about punishing those who advocate it.”

Jay

April 10th, 2012
10:55 am

Now they call it getting your bell rung permanently, getalife.

Bruno

April 10th, 2012
10:56 am

However, I’ll note that after the death of Dale Earnhardt, NASCAR dramatically increased its commitment to and investment in safety.

Jay–In case you weren’t aware, most long-term die-hard NASCAR fans believe that the sport has been P-fied with all of the new rules. Not as much banging these days.

Do sports beget violence, or simply channel it into an acceptable or profitable form? Hmmm….

Don’t know about you, Matti, but I was always a little horrified reading about the old Coliseum Games in Roman times. I’m guessing a concussion may have been the least of a Gladiator’s worries.

ragnar danneskjold

April 10th, 2012
10:57 am

Carlin: youtube.com/watch?v=qmXacL0Uny0

JamVet

April 10th, 2012
10:58 am

I’m just glad that Major League Baseball has returned and another spring and summer of hope is upon us.

You guys can keep your NFL. I would not miss a beat if it went away forever.

St Simons - we're on Island time

April 10th, 2012
11:00 am

“The pathology was severe in areas of the brain that influence impulse
control, inhibition, emotion and memory,” said Dr. Ann McKee.

The same areas that don’t seem to function in con brains.
Maybe they all bumped their heads

TBone

April 10th, 2012
11:00 am

So now we have overlap between the non-news and sports articles?

Brosephus™

April 10th, 2012
11:01 am

In case you weren’t aware, most long-term die-hard NASCAR fans believe that the sport has been P-fied with all of the new rules. Not as much banging these days.

That trend started in 1987 with the anti-Ernie Elliott rule. :)

Richard

April 10th, 2012
11:01 am

Aside from the what happened with the Saints, this is incredibly easy:

If you take a hammer to your leg a thousand times, you shouldn’t be able to cry foul when your leg doesn’t work as it used to. Players use their heads as battering rams thousands of times and are now crying foul that their heads don’t work correctly. Child please! They chose an occupation that is incredibly dangerous and while I have sympathy for them, no one should be remotely shocked. Incidental injury is an inherent risk.

Now, if you want to win a court case, nail Goodell for wanting to lengthen the season to 18 games or even how he lengthened overtime starting this year.

Greg Williams, on the other hand, should actually be tried in criminal court.

Recon 0311 2533

April 10th, 2012
11:02 am

Football is a great sport and I’m a fan at all levels. I’m not, however, a fan of cheap shots aimed at getting a player off the field.

Brosephus™

April 10th, 2012
11:03 am

Bruno

April 10th, 2012
11:03 am

I saw a funny piece a while back from a comedian on ways to improve interest in baseball. His idea was to combine tackling with base running. Make ‘em earn their way to first.

How about combining golf with the MMA??

Peadawg

April 10th, 2012
11:05 am

“How about combining golf with the MMA??”

Tiger’s whiny ars tried that when he kicked his club this weekend.

They BOTH suck

April 10th, 2012
11:05 am

Recon @ 11:02

Good post. The nature of the game itself will produce injuries. No need to increase injuries and severity with cheap shots

godless heathen©

April 10th, 2012
11:05 am

I think getalife’s bell is still rung.

Gregg Easterbrook over at ESPN has written some interesting columns about safety in football. He is especially concerned about the young children “getting their bell rung” for the entertainment of adults.

Jefferson

April 10th, 2012
11:05 am

As much as I like to watch football, in reality its makes as much sense as prize fighting. Something about watching winners and losers.

mm

April 10th, 2012
11:06 am

Jm,

“Or take their helmets away. That would change things.”

For once, I agree with you.

Athletes, like employees, soldiers, etc, are of no more use, are tossed aside and replaced with another piece of meat.

Aquagirl

April 10th, 2012
11:07 am

Just like other dangerous occupations such as firefighting, law enforcement, combat military, boxing, car racing etc. people can choose to pursue it or choose not to.

Endangering yourself fighting fires is not quite the same as endangering yourself to entertain the masses.

I don’t watch football much because it’s too out of control in every way. Yes, men choose to play football. Looks to me like it’s the insane money and status accorded football players at every level. Ban the whole sport. Or at least the part dependent on high schools and colleges, which should be turning out kids ready to think, not bash heads.

If you want to prove you’re a REAL man, go join the military or police or something. When we pay our firefighters .00001% of a jock’s salary our society is broken. Period.

getalife

April 10th, 2012
11:07 am

“I think getalife’s bell is still rung.”

It is but I will not whine about it.

Bruno

April 10th, 2012
11:08 am

Greg Williams, on the other hand, should actually be tried in criminal court.

Richard, in case you didn’t know, the police have become more involved in recent years in bringing assault charges in sports when appropriate, even at the pro levels. Personally, I’m for it.

Peter

April 10th, 2012
11:09 am

Ethics in the NFL… Please too much money involved for them to do the correct thing.

godless heathen©

April 10th, 2012
11:09 am

“Jay–In case you weren’t aware, most long-term die-hard NASCAR fans believe that the sport has been P-fied with all of the new rules. Not as much banging these days.”

They seem to willing to wreck each other plenty these days. I think the drivers feel really safe in the cars and don’t worry about getting hurt, and they don’t pay to replace the torn up race cars.

JamVet

April 10th, 2012
11:10 am

When we pay our firefighters .00001% of a jock’s salary our society is broken. Period.

Word.

Bruno

April 10th, 2012
11:11 am

Tiger’s whiny ars tried that when he kicked his club this weekend.

Not too many tough guy types on Tour right now.

Very entertaining Master’s finish this year. CBS also gave a public nod to Furman Bisher. A very nice gesture.

Misty Fyed

April 10th, 2012
11:11 am

If the players want safer conditions, let THEM do what is necessary. They are the ones who show up week after week willing to play. To come back when the paychecks and fame go away and blame the NFL is disingenuous.

getalife

April 10th, 2012
11:12 am

Perhaps you should try lingerie football.

I am pretty sure their coach told them to take me out when they dived low and snapped my Achilles tendon.

I didn’t cry about it.

It’s football.

JamVet

April 10th, 2012
11:13 am

Ethics in the NFL… Please too much money involved for them to do the correct thing.

Word, again.

And to that extent it is a perfect illustration of BIG business in the modern America of perverted capitalism.

Jefferson

April 10th, 2012
11:13 am

In the mean time all you Atlanta taxpayers buy those millionairs a new place to play….

Matti

April 10th, 2012
11:14 am

As a mom, it’s terrifying watching anyone’s kid get roughed up on the court or field. I learned early on that I was not allowed to run out there, shrieking, “My baby!” Was horrified once to witness my sweet, innocent child deck a player on the other team. (Ejection! “Aaccck! What were you thinking?”) Kids don’t always think, especially in the heat of competition. It’s our job as grown-ups to teach them to think about safety for themselves and others!

Since the NFL is comprised of grown-up (aged) men, I expect them to think of safety first as well, and am glad to see the rules tightened up in both college and pro. It’s a GAME, people! It’s not worth taking someone’s life or future away so you can get a bonus, or cheering for someone to get hurt so you can win a stupid bet!

Recon 0311 2533

April 10th, 2012
11:15 am

“If you want to prove you’re a REAL man, go join the military or police or something.”

I did join the military once upon a time as a volunteer and as a regular man serving along side other regular men. I even saw many of those regular men go far beyond regularity.

JamVet

April 10th, 2012
11:15 am

And how come you would-be union-busters love these guys when they have the most powerful labor unions on the planet?

Things that make you go hmmmm…

ByteMe - Thugs vs. Goons IN 3-D!!

April 10th, 2012
11:15 am

(While symptoms of the condition are well-known, its presence can be confirmed only by autopsy.)

On a medical note, why can’t some of the high-tech color brain scans available these days spot this with any degree of accuracy?

godless heathen©

April 10th, 2012
11:16 am

“When we pay our firefighters .00001% of a jock’s salary our society is broken. Period.”

When 60,000 people show up to watch them fight a fire, they’ll earn what pro football players do,

I prefer the pro game over college. The players are paid on top of the table.

Don't Forget

April 10th, 2012
11:18 am

The players who are targeted are the best players. Why? Because if you don’t injure them they will beat you. Players and teams that do this do it for one reason and one reason only, they are inferior to the other team/player. Big hits are part of the game but intentional injury is downright cowardly and for losers.

Bruno

April 10th, 2012
11:19 am

When we pay our firefighters .00001% of a jock’s salary our society is broken. Period.

Sorry, Aquagirl, Am, and anyone else who gets on board with this notion. It’s simply a matter of supply and demand. There are only a little more than 1300 spots available in the NFL, 750 in the MLB, and only about 360 in the NBA. In contrast, there are somewhere around 300,000 paid firefighters. In my home community, it was an all-volunteer force.

Where is PETA?

April 10th, 2012
11:22 am

Jay says,
And it says a lot about human nature that some people who were justifiably horrified by the Michael Vick dogfighting scandal — “how could he do that just for sport!?” — are willing to tolerate permanent, debilitating, life-ruining head injuries among fellow human beings for the sake of a different sport.

Where is PETA when you need them? They were so concerned about the animals. Here we have HUMANS that are suffering!!

barking frog

April 10th, 2012
11:22 am

get a life
you were a boxer, a
football player. did you ever try professional wrestling?

Granny Godzilla - Union Thugette

April 10th, 2012
11:22 am

Wonderful game to teach our little boys, ain’t it?

BuckeyeinGa

April 10th, 2012
11:22 am

Football players that played decades ago might not have known most of the risks but football players know what they signed up for. It’s a VERY violent sport and they love it, despite the consequences…

Aquagirl

April 10th, 2012
11:23 am

When 60,000 people show up to watch them fight a fire, they’ll earn what pro football players do,

Maybe if we hit up taxpayers for a 60,000 seat stadium to that fire, you’d have a comparison. And had little pyro pep rallies all throughout taxpayer supported schools.

Is Arthur Blank demanding a few hundred million for a fancy new firehouse? Did I miss that in the news?

BuckeyeinGa

April 10th, 2012
11:24 am

yeh Michael Vick did something horribe and he was punished for it. Why not move on..

Bruno

April 10th, 2012
11:24 am

I learned early on that I was not allowed to run out there, shrieking, “My baby!”

Matti–You sure this wasn’t you:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5aCH-viXic

getalife

April 10th, 2012
11:24 am

frog,

Street fighting was more like MMA not boxing.

Lesner went back to fake wrestling after getting whooped in a real fight.

Talking Head

April 10th, 2012
11:25 am

I think it’s unfortunate that some of these players experience physical and mental hardships in their later years after playing the game, however it is a game and they voluntarily chose to pursue that lifestyle. I think the NFL should address the situation (and they are) and whatever decisions are made should be made by those within the NFL and with the player input.

Football is a violent natured game, it’s entertainment, and we the fans love a big hit.

[...] with Randy Moss but they need a longterm answer, which is now Stephen Hill, w more… NFL facing major test of credibility, ethics – Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) – blogs.ajc.com 04/10/2012 Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)NFL facing major test of [...]

Matti

April 10th, 2012
11:29 am

Bruno,

Haha! No, that wasn’t me, but I have had relationships with boxers and former football players, and there’s no doubt in my mind: getting one’s bell rung a few times does indeed affect one’s ability to formulate good sense! Dain bramage: it ain’t pretty.

JamVet

April 10th, 2012
11:29 am

There is exactly one man from the NFL who has earned my total respect.

The ONLY man’s jersey that I would ever wear.

Number 40 of the Arizona Cardinals.

ty webb

April 10th, 2012
11:30 am

well said Jay…though the mere mention of Vick’s episode seems out of place…he(either personally or through his entourage) actually executed defenseless dogs that wouldn’t fight or didn’t fight well…NFL players actually have a choice to play or not.

Bruno

April 10th, 2012
11:30 am

Special for Jay—A little Hank Williams Jr.:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbpaxjNlGNw

Joe Hussein Mama

April 10th, 2012
11:30 am

getalife — “Perhaps you should try lingerie football.”

ZOMG, I saw that one weekend when I was flipping channels. I know I must have lingered too long on that station, because the wife went “turn that spit off.” :D

ty webb

April 10th, 2012
11:31 am

oh, and I agree about Jack Lambert. One of my all time personal favorites.

Finn McCool (Class Warfare === Stopping Rich People from TAKING MORE of OUR MONEY)

April 10th, 2012
11:32 am

Let’s go to flag football.

barking frog

April 10th, 2012
11:32 am

get a life
fake wrestlers make big bucks and don’t get hurt
why can’t other sports
do the same. the crowds
seem happy.

Bruno

April 10th, 2012
11:34 am

Here’s my favorite player from the great Eagles team of 1980:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uMrPynxJLc

Steve Atl

April 10th, 2012
11:34 am

Just sitting here wondering why Obama or Holder won’t chime in on the Trayvon Martin case to ease racial tensions and tamp things down…just wondering.

Jay – Are you doing the sports blogs now or just trying to deflect away from gas prices, the issues with Obamacare, the growing deficit, unemployment, North Korea, Iran just to name a few hot topics.

godless heathen©

April 10th, 2012
11:35 am

AG: “Is Arthur Blank demanding a few hundred million for a fancy new firehouse? Did I miss that in the news?”

Why should he? Who would come to watch them wash the fire truck?

Why does Tom Hanks get $millions for a movie, but the lady working the soup kitchen make minimum wage or nothing? Bruno was correct. The athletes and the actors have very special talents and they are compensated for them based on their popularity..

Joe Hussein Mama

April 10th, 2012
11:37 am

JamVet — “There is exactly one man from the NFL who has earned my total respect. The ONLY man’s jersey that I would ever wear. Number 40 of the Arizona Cardinals.”

I grew up in a college football town, but I never got the fever for the game. That said, I’ve been donating to Pat Tillman’s foundation for years, and they’ve got jerseys for you.

http://www.pattillmanfoundation.org/donate/merchandise/

While you’re there, why not have a look around and see what the Foundation is all about? Maybe you’ll choose to donate, too.

barking frog

April 10th, 2012
11:37 am

does the nhl have the same problem?

Bruno

April 10th, 2012
11:37 am

And if you guys are talking about great linebackers, I would contend that none were equal to Bill Bergey in his prime. No one covered as much real estate as he did.

getalife

April 10th, 2012
11:39 am

frog,

They still get hurt in fake wrestling.

I played football with the Atkisson boys better known as the Von Erics.

barking frog

April 10th, 2012
11:43 am

I like oj. he took football off the field and made it a family affair.

Jefferson

April 10th, 2012
11:44 am

I went to a prize fight one time and a hocky game broke out.

Bruno

April 10th, 2012
11:44 am

Does anyone remember the old “Superstars” TV show, in which they would pit athletes from a variety of sports against each other?? A boatload of fun. Check out Bill Bergey here in the golf competition in 1978:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1OxKN3bvdc&feature=relmfu

Where is PETA?

April 10th, 2012
11:45 am

well said Jay…though the mere mention of Vick’s episode seems out of place…he(either personally or through his entourage) actually executed defenseless dogs that wouldn’t fight or didn’t fight well…NFL players actually have a choice to play or not.

but, but the MEDIA went wild with the Vick and dogfighting reporting. Yea, he has moved on and Philly took a chance on him by offering him a 100 million dollar contract. Where is PETA when you think about the HUMANS. This should be all over the media just like the Vick dogfighting was. I have more respect for humans.

BuckeyeinGa

April 10th, 2012
11:45 am

get a life
fake wrestlers make big bucks and don’t get hurt
why can’t other sports
do the same. the crowds
seem happy.

—————
that is not true..Have you seen how Hulk Hogan walks now? He needed a hip replacement because of wrestling.

Aquagirl

April 10th, 2012
11:45 am

The athletes and the actors have very special talents and they are compensated for them based on their popularity

The average Tom Hanks fan sits in a movie theater, a private establishment built on private land. Tom Hanks’ first public appearance probably wasn’t courtesy of ESPN. If Tom Hanks studied acting in college, he did so without a staff of 500 to run his cleat cleaner and “check his eligibility,” an essential job performed by young ladies on the back of the coach’s, um, motorcycle.

Jocks are jocks, and we’ll have jocks until the end of humanity. I watch MMA myself, they kick each other in the head with no helmets. (That’s before the “mounting” part but let’s not go there, lol)

What I’m really asking…can you men pick a sport that produces less brain-damaged semi-literate fallout, and maybe do it with your own manly money, not my tax dollars?