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Matthew J. Lee/Boston Globe
Just a little bit of the old Sunday ultraviolence.

Here’s a link to a wonderful video of Junior Seau’s daughter giving the speech she said she would have given yesterday at the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony for her father:

The NFL’s cowardice in banning her from speaking during the ceremony is testimony that pro football, at its heart, is a tool for billionaire greedheads to make untold millions of dollars more by exploiting the people it pays chump change (by the owners' standards) to play the game. The NFL is very good at promoting itself, yet this monolith is so image-paranoid that it no doubt wishes Junior Seau had never been born, never played the game at a Hall of Fame level, and then never died after killing himself because of a degenerative brain disease that very well may have been caused by playing a game he loved.

The National Football League is, to borrow a phrase from Hunter S. Thompson, decadent and depraved. It submits players to hyperviolence that grinds up their bodies and brains while multinational corporations sell beer and pickup trucks to hundreds of millions of fans who live vicariously through television broadcasts without having been anywhere near the playing field to witness the overpowering brutality of the game. The league looks the other way concerning the use of performance-enhancing drugs that make what Lance Armstrong was taking look like Skittles. It slaps the wrists of players who commit crimes that would land any of us in jail—but we can’t afford the lawyers that the players can afford, and I have no doubt the teams and the league surreptitiously help with those expenses.

It could be argued that Seau chose to play professional football and subject himself to its dehumanization. Yet how many of us, faced with the allure of making a fortune (by our standards) would sign the contract and say, “It won’t happen to me” when we think about the physical and mental consequences of playing?

The average NFL career length is a tad over three years. Why? Because your team will cut you loose if it can find someone to play your position who is bigger, faster, stronger. Because you may suffer an injury that will end your career.

And you won’t make a fortune if you’re a journeyman.

The deaths of players like Junior Seau and the tragic state of others whose brains and bodies were destroyed by pro football should give any one of us pause when we turn on the TV to watch an NFL game. Do something else instead. Spend time with loved ones and friends. Read a book, a magazine, an online newspaper. Go for a walk.

Do something to make yourself healthier physically and mentally instead of watching a game that does the exact opposite to the people who play it.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 10th, 2015 06:56 am (UTC)
It could be argued that Seau chose to play professional football and subject himself to its dehumanization

When you are a young man looking at the very real chances of fame and fortune, that is all you see. Young men do not think it will ever happen to them. They are immortal, strong, immune to disease and injury and death.

The NFL knows this and exploits the innocence by throwing money and adulation at the feet of boys too vulnerable to know how they're being used up.
Aug. 10th, 2015 01:57 pm (UTC)
You write Truth.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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