Let me say something good about the New York Times: not all of it’s editorials are repetitious attacks on President Trump, just most of them. Last week editorial board member Alex Kinsbury persuaded his colleague to let him used the space for an opinion both ethical and irrefutable. A quick summary: Football is maiming its players, the NFL doesn’t care, and if you watch the Super Bowl and support its sponsors, you’re complicit.
But them you knew that, right? At least you know it if you’re been coming here for any length of time.
Recalling a hard hit on Patriots star Rob Gronkowski, Kinsbury writes, “As the sound of the hit faded into a commercial break, I realized with absolute certainty that I couldn’t watch football anymore. There aren’t enough yards to gain or Super Bowl rings to win that are worth the cost.”
True. What took you so long? He continues by reviewing the well-publicized data:
The first research into the link between football and traumatic brain injury was published in 2005. Since then, the science has become impossible to ignore. In 2017, The Journal of the American Medical Association published the results of the autopsies of the brains of 111 deceased former N.F.L. players, whose relatives gave their bodies up for study. The group was not a random sample, yet 110 showed signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or C.T.E., a degenerative brain disease linked to concussions. Research published in November estimated that a minimum of 10 percent of all professional football players would develop C.T.E. at some point in their lives.
10% is wishful thinking, even for the players who can still think.
Research published in The Journal of Pediatrics last month found that concussion rates for youth football players were higher than previously reported. In all, some 5 percent of all youth football players receive concussions each year, a figure that may sound low, but compounds with each additional year of play. In 2017, a study found that playing football before age 12 doubled the risk of problems with behavioral regulation, apathy and executive functioning. It tripled the risk of elevated depression…
Technology — in the form of, say, better helmets — will not save the game. Researchers note that helmets don’t prevent all concussions and might be making the problem worse, by giving players a false sense of invincibility.
Yeah, whatever. The Super Bowl this year should be terrific!
Then I learned something new and disgusting about Tom Brady, the New England Patriots quarterback who is also an ethics corrupter.Brady told a sports radio show last month that “Your body gets used to the hits. The brain understands the position that you are putting your body into, and my brain is wired for contact. I would say in some ways it has become callous to some of the hits.”
Maybe Tom’ brain is already melting. More likely, he is just an unscrupulous tool of his industry. Brady’s former teammate, Ted Johnson, is 45 and suffering from symptoms characteristic of early Alzheimer’s disease as a results of all those concussions his brain was “used to.” He called Tom’s remarks “irresponsible.”
That’s an understatement.