February 04, 2007
Let's Boycott the Super Bowl
Today, the NFL Championship game will have most Americans glued to their TV sets. But not me.
For a number of reasons. The NFL destroys the flow of the "post season" by having a massive two-week gap between the NFC/AFC title games and the overall championship game. That's way too long. About a week ago, whatever attention I had on this started to wander.
But I have a couple of beefs with NFL football in general.
First, an NFL player contract isn't worth the paper it's printed on. In baseball and other sports, even if a player is cut from the team, he gets the full value of the contract for its entire duration. Not so in the NFL. If the team's plans change, they can cut a player and not pay him.
If the player is cut, or quits, for any reason, the balance of the contract is voided and the player receives no further compensation. In this most violent of sports, if a player is made a quadrapalegic due to a vicious tackle, he is owed nothing by the team. That is disgusting.
And its the overall issue of violence that bothers me the most about the NFL. This is one brutal sport. What concerns me is the damage these ferocious hits do to the players, over time.
Player Andre Waters recently killed himself this past November. But, the NY Times reports, a europathologist in Pittsburgh is claiming that Mr. Waters had sustained brain damage from playing football and he says that led to his depression and ultimate death.
"The neuropathologist, Dr. Bennet Omalu of the University of Pittsburgh, a leading expert in forensic pathology, determined that Mr. Waters's brain tissue had degenerated into that of an 85-year-old man with similar characteristics as those of early-stage Alzheimer's victims. Dr. Omalu said he believed that the damage was either caused or drastically expedited by successive concussions Mr. Waters, 44, had sustained playing football."
Friday, the paper reported that Ted Johnson, 34 years old, and recently retired from the New England Patriots, suffering cognitive impairment and depression. He endured many hits over his career, but is unique in that he believes he knows the exact moment when he suffered brain injury.
"Johnson’s decline began, he said, in August 2002, with a concussion he sustained in a preseason game against the New York Giants. He sustained another four days later during a practice, after Patriots Coach Bill Belichick went against the recommendation of the team’s trainer, Johnson said, and submitted him to regular on-field contact."
If this is true, Bill Belichick should burn in hell for a hundred eternities.
The Waters and Johnson incidents are the very small tip of a very large iceberg of injuries that will come to light in the coming years. It pisses me off that the NFL does not respect the health of its players, and that they don't give the players real contracts.
So, NFL, go to hell, with your phony little Super Bowl. I won't be watching.
When did you say spring training begins?