Big Money Now..Big Misery Later

Posted: May 21, 2012 in Uncategorized
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The NFL is in a world of trouble.  Amid players being charged with crimes such as assault, driving under the influence, dog fighting, murder, narcotics trafficking, self leg shooting (lol I had to), & rape, players are being tested positive for steroids & other drugs.  The Patriots & Saints, past Super Bowl champions, are being seen as cheaters when evidence of recording team’s practices and play calling have arisen.  If that wasn’t enough, current & former Saints players & team management have been fined & suspended, some indefinitely, for paying players extra money for late hits, dirty shots, & deliberately trying to inflict injuries.  Well if that wasn’t enough, the league is now in another quagmire; concussions.

Football is a violent sport.  Agree.  Football is a man’s game. Agree. Players know what they sign up for.  Disagree.  Unless the majority of NFL players graduate college (most don’t), major in a science related field (most don’t), have advanced degrees (most don’t), do they actually know what they are signing up for?  Bob Dylan’s lyric you don’t need to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows” is true, but besides a neurosurgeon, a professor of Neuroscience, or a licensed psychologist, what stereotypical 23 year old who leaves college 2 years early to run with a ball for a living knows what Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy is?  What stereotypical 23 year old who leaves college 2 years early to chase people for a living knows that “The primary physical manifestations of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy includes a reduction in brain weight, enlargement of the Lateral & Third Ventricles, thinning of the Corpus Callosum, Cavum Septum Pellucidum with fenestrations, scarring & neuronal loss of the Cerebellar Tonsils”? What stereotypical 23 year old who leaves college 2 years early to catch a ball for a living knows that side effects of Concussions and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy are disorientation, confusion, vertigo, headaches, poor judgment, overt dementia, slowed muscular movements, staggered gait, impeded speech, tremors, deafness, disturbances & psychotic symptoms, erratic behavior, memory loss, & the initial symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease? I seriously doubt they tell the rookies this on draft day.  I seriously doubt they tell the rookies this in college.  I never heard it as a rookie in high school, middle school, or in the recreation leagues.  It sounds like a deliberate cover-up to keep kids ignorant about the REAL dangers of the game.  Wins & records over livelihoods and cognitive functions.

No offense to any intelligent young man who uses his God given talent & size to further his financial station in life, but are millions dollars a year worth your cognitive and physical state later in life?  Sports illustrated conducted a study on retired NFL players and concluded that 78% of them in 2 years became “bankrupt and are under financial stress because of joblessness and divorce”.  Does forgoing 2 extra years of college, breaking down your body by repeated hits from 6’4, 270 pound individuals, most likely develop major neurological problems later on in life, & also have a 78% chance of squandering your hard earned money within 2 years of retirement sound like a good life plan?  Studies also show that the road to the NFL is harder than expected. While speaking to a group of 8th graders, 28 out of 30 were African American, all but one of them believed they were going to the NFL because of their “talent”.  I dropped the following statistics on them:

1 out of 17 make it to play college football (5.8%)

1 out of 50 make it to the NFL out of college (2.0%)

Overall, 9 in 10,000 make it from high school to college to the NFL (0.09%)

I’m not knocking the league or any of its players, but I think its time we told our children the truth.  Football is a fun game, but the odds of getting Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy is actually higher than actually making it to the NFL draft.  Be smart. Stay in school. Use your head for something other than bashing it into someone else’s.


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