For those of you about to watch a little football over the weekend, does the "sport" induce brain damage not only to the players but also to the viewers?
After a weekend of listening to the blather on the tube, many viewers tend to believe that “college” players are really student-athletes and that NFL players can step back into society on Sunday evening after a week, after a near lifetime, of banging heads.
The Ray Rice case probably should cost Commissioner Roger Goodell his job one of these days. Hearing the report that Rice had dragged his girlfriend, now his wife, out of an elevator after “rendering her unconscious” did not arouse any curiosity in Goodell. Biff-bam-pow. It sounded like one of those phrases John Madden and the lads used to chortle on the compliant networks not so long ago.
“Got his bell rung.”
X-rays of autopsies to follow.
Just think about it while watching the “amateurs” and the “professionals:" the know-nothing impulse of Goodell and his league regarding Ray Rice and now-wife is not the first or perhaps most widespread scandal facing the NFL.
These people have been ducking the clear evidence of damaged players for generations. Men had their uniforms taken away when they could no longer compete, and soon afterward an alarming number had another clubhouse - a rest home with burly attendants to care for them.
For many years the NFL relied for brain advice on its medical advisor, Dr. Elliot Pellman, who was not an expert in neurology, and who resigned in 2007 after articles by Alan Schwarz in The New York Times and other sources.
I had already posted this article when things got worse. The front-page story in the Times by Ken Belson said the NFL is admitting that one-third of its former players are likely to have brain damage. In case you missed it:
Until recently, the NFL's position was that players did not have brain damage. Rather, they were rendered unconscious. Big difference.
What happens to players still getting hit early and often by other behemoths? Do they left-hook their companions, or strangers, and dump them halfway out of an elevator and nudge them with their feet?
At the moment that ugly video surfaced, the two NFL scandals were joined. Does football make players violent long before brain damage is confirmed -- via an autopsy?
Have a nice violent weekend.
I had a wonderful time on the #NYTReadalong Feb. 7 with Sree Sreenivasan and Neil Parekh, talking about the Super Bowl and the great paper where I used to work. Thanks to all the nice people who sent messages while I was babbling. The Readalong is Sunday, 8:30-10:15 AM Eastern, and the link is available after that.
has filed an interview with, of all people, me.
It's on his blog. (Just past photo of rat!) My thanks for his interest. GV
David Vecsey's sweet tale of distant love before the Web, now NYT Podcast, narrated by Griffin Dunne. Please see: