The fact is the NFL is a violent game and that’s part of why the fans love it so much. The fans have made this league what it is today, we consume everything NFL related on a ridiculous pace. Of course we don’t want to see a player suffer life-threatening injuries on the field but we realize the inherent risk involved in playing this game and know that the players are all accepting that risk by suiting up. Grouping the death of Seau, the Saints bounties, and Goodell’s inconsistency thus far regarding player safety seems unfair to me. What fans really want is the same game we’ve been watching all of our lives. If there are ways to make is safer by giving us the same product, than by all means make it safer. You can’t eliminate incidental contact to the head but you can provide the players with safer equipment to protect them from such contact. I don’t think the NFL as we know it is dying or even in danger of going away. I think the NFL is here to stay but these former players’ issues must be dealt with and healthcare and support must be given to players as they exit the league to cover those that don’t go from the field to the ESPN studio.
The percentage of former NFL players that turn to suicide, suffer mental health problems, and are unable to function in society is relatively small compared to the sheer number of former NFL players. Remember the average NFL career lasts only 3-6 years so just think of the number of players that have left the NFL just in the past 20 years that have gone on to lead perfectly capable lives away from the game. This is not to diminish or minimize what some former players are going through because clearly as a whole they need more support from the NFL than they are currently getting.
I think the sign that Ochocinco getting into the debate over football safety is just a sign that it has gotten out of hand. Let’s all step back and take a breather on this. Ochocinco is planning to do a lot of celebrating in the endzone this season so is that for us to assume that he’s finally learned the Patriots playbook or that he has joined the cheerleading squad? I can’t wait for the season to start to find out!
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