Replay: Still Time To Be Ethical And Decide Not To Watch The Super Bowl

[I was going to write a brand new post pointing out why watching the Super Bowl (and the ads of the NFL’s unethical accessories) was unconscionable, but then I remembered how many times I’ve written similar pieces, and constantly going over the same unethical territory is eating away at my joie de vie—“my twinkle,” as Cosmo Kramer would say. Cant have that, so here is a previous post on the theme from 2019.

It is remarkable to me that the near death of Damar Hamlin mid game less than two months ago has essentially vanished from the sports pages after a brief flurry of “why do we cheer on this mayhem?” pieces before the NFL’s play-offs started. The big concern seems to be whether President Biden is snubbing Fox News be refusing to give a mid-game Super Bowl interview (which is supposedly a “tradition”) or Fox News is snubbing President Biden. In any event Joe’s not being interviewed, though a chat with someone who is cognitively damaged during the game might do some good by reminding viewers what they are cheering.]

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 then 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.

5 thoughts on “Replay: Still Time To Be Ethical And Decide Not To Watch The Super Bowl

  1. A week ago, I learned a high school classmate was killed when hit by a car while riding his bike at night. Age 71. Victor was not working out. He’d lost his car and then his license eight years ago. Victor was a charming, smart guy while in high school. A good team mate on our basketball team. From a family of Cuban Miami royalty, he should have been a prince in South Florida business and civic activity like his older brother. But Victor succumbed to plain old depression or bi-polar depression. It may have run in the family, but I think Victor’s playing full pads tackle football in seventh and eighth grades at the Coral Gables Youth Center (with other guys who would become classmates) must have had some effect on Victor’s brain. I always thought guys who played football were crazy, but I’ve come to believe it was playing football at a young age that MADE them crazy. So, I’ll skip today’s Super Fiasco in honor of Victor and a couple other classmates whose lives were dimmed by the great American pastime. (And it’s not a big loss. I can’t stand the gushing corporate excess anyway.)

  2. I decided to observe Super Bowl Sunday by taking my wife out for our Valentine’s Day date two days early. With everybody at home or in sports bars, you could waltz right into any nice restaurant and get seated right away, no reservation required.

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