“It’s scary to think about the future and the ‘what ifs’ … if it’s what he loves, I have to support it.”
What? No, you don’t!
The above anonymous quote from a feature about how 2,000 wives of past and current NFL players share their fears and console each other as the evidence mounts that their husbands are likely to spend their final years as tortured, brain-damaged victims of their sport and burdens on their families illustrates how delusional supporters of the NFL money machine have become.
It also shows, to depressing degree, how people will rationalize and justify conduct that cannot be rationally defended.
If an unmarried NFL player without family responsibilities chooses to shorten his life and cripple himself in exchange for a brief career in the limelight and a lot of money, that’s his stupid choice to make. Then the only other responsible parties are the cynical and corrupt sport that knowingly pays him to make that choice, the amoral and greedy corporations that make such cruelty worth the NFL’s while, and the ethics alarms deficient football fans who get their Sunday thrills watching young men slowly disable themselves.
A player with a family, however, has accepted an arrangement that mandates different priorities. I used to love playing poker until dawn and going out drinking with my actor pals after rehearsals. Nobody was harmed by these pursuits until I was responsible for the welfare a family. Then those things that I loved had to take a back seat to the people I loved.
These NFL wives don’t have to allow their husbands to trade their brains for cash, unless they want the cash more than they want a healthy husband. Their obligation is to do what’s in their family’s best interest, and that is to tell their husbands who wantsto engage in a life-wrecking occupation because they “love it”, “NO. You can have a family, or you can beat your head in for a living. You can’t do both.”
I could have made this an Ethics Quote instead, from Dr. Bennet Omalu, the neuropathologist played by Will Smith in the film “Concussion,” as he reacted to the recent study that found 110 of 111 former NFL players whose brains were examined after their deaths suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). He was quoted by Sports Illustrated. :
“Someday there will be a district attorney who will prosecute [parents who allow their children to play football] for child abuse and it will succeed.It is the definition of child abuse…If you play football, and if your child plays football, there is a 100 percent risk exposure. There is nothing like making football safer. That’s a misnomer.”
I question his legal conclusion, but Dr. Omalu is correct regarding the ethics involved. Ethical people do not allow their loved ones to play football, nor do they enable, pay, cheer or encourage others who do.