THERE’S SOMETHING ROTTEN IN THE NFL….December 5, 2012
That title in the Opinion Exchange of STRIB caught my eye this morning, as I have been pondering this issue for more than 15 years – ever since I produced the NFL Player of the Year Awards Dinner at Superbowl back in the Nineties….
It was encouraging to see that the US version of Rome’s gladiators is finally producing some thoughtful dialogues.
To me, it does not seem ok that “within 2 years of retiring, 3 out of 4 NFL players will be one or more of the following: alcohol or drug addicted; divorced, or financially distressed/bankrupt”….AND the suicide rate for men who have played in the NFL is nearly six times the national average.
Really? Lives are expendable just because they entertain us? And no, I do not think it is okay to push these concerns aside by retorts of how it is their choice, and they get paid a whole lot to take that risk. That is not a “risk” – it is more of an inevitability…just to please the football fan.
I tend to agree with the author Frank Bruni of New York Times when he said “…to be an NFL fan these days is to feel morally conflicted, even morally compromised, because you’ve supported something that corrodes too many lives.”
I admit, I am tainted by my experience working with NFL Alumni Assn for the superbowl events…and having to deal with some pretty incredible problems with some of the players that were being honored, but those days definitely broke my Sunday afternoon habit of sitting mindlessly in front of the TV … and I had not really realized how much further this had progressed in the ensuing years.
No one is saying get rid of football…but every fan should ponder the question – what can be done differently.
And if your “love” of professional football hinders you from acknowledging there is a problem, it may be time to do some soul-searching about why you have turned into the cheering Roman in the Colesium..delighted when humans are malled and eaten by the lions.