Fans Must Fight Back
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The carnage left behind from decades of NFL concussions is unspeakable. The only thing worse is the NFL's entrenched stance not to acknowledge or accept responsibility or any liability -- as every other American business must adhere to. The NFL, by virtue of compounding billions of dollars each year, is above the law, legally and morally.
I played seven years with the Vikings. I am 52 years old, have been suffering from post-concussions since 1980, and was diagnosed with early dementia and Alzheimer's at the young age of 49. The NFL insists concussions could not be remotely responsible, despite countless concussions or hitting the rock hard original Astro-Turf. My headaches, total lack of energy (I am reduced to sleeping most of the day after graduating with Honors from UCLA, and being accepted to law school) are only silly coincidences according to the NFL's corrupt disability system.
Every other doctor, including two NFL doctors and dozens of other doctors, all agree with my claim except one hired-gun doctor who admitted he didn't bother to look at my brain scans -- the body part he was diagnosing!
The NFL is fighting liability for our concussions as fiercely and fraudulently as tobacco companies fought links of smoking and cancer. We all remember in 1994 all the tobacco executives dressed in their finery and lying straight to the eyes of Congress.
Look for the same behavior at the Oct. 28, 2009 House Judiciary hearing into NFL concussions. But, put your rubber boots on first, their PR excrement will be flowing.
Having said that, you can't legislate concussions out of the game. Linemen can only block by leading with their head; linebackers in turn meet them head on, and so forth. Scientific improvements to helmets cannot mitigate the violent full speed collisions behind well-trained 300 pound madmen.
And, without the hits, fans won't watch. The "hit of the week" is met with cheers; those old enough to remember the old "Football Follies" TV show remember those who suffered debilitating concussions being made a big joke- fake stars circling their heads, birds chirping, and laughter as the player, not knowing who or where he was, went to the wrong sideline.
Problem is, those players today, the ones who made us fall in love with the NFL back in the black and white TV days, can no longer recognize their loved ones or go to the bathroom alone...real funny, isn't it?
Here is the only solution- YOU THE FANS must stand up loudly against the mistreatment of old NFL heroes. Only until you protest, only until you influence sponsors, will changes be made. Make the NFL give fair disability claims instead of spending millions to deny concussion claims.
Our advocacy group, dignityafterfootball.org, is committed to bringing a respectful life and medical care, even food and a roof over the heads of NFL retirees.
Until then, the powerful NFL will continue to elude liability and leave retires diving in dumpsters. We want fair, not corrupt, disability claims processes with strong Congressional oversight; removal of Congress' antiquated need to gift Anti-Trust privileges to the now well-established league.
Please stand up for us- force the sponsors and NFL to take care of the relatively few retirees still living.
Please do NOT allow Congress to expand the NFL's Anti-Trust; instead remove their anti-Trust gifts until they clean their own house and take care of their own family of retirees who are suffering horribly today.-only then should Anti-Trust be revisited.
The late Gene Upshaw called retirees DOG FOOD; I was told when applying for disability, that the owners "will never open that can of worms."
So, football fans, the NFL sees the men who made today's league possible as being dog food and slimy worms!
Hold them responsible; make them pay their disability liabilities just as you would be forced to do in your business.
And, grant guys like me in their 50's, with early dementia, some dignity and benefits while we are still coherent enough to be aware of it happening. We built the league, just give us our dignity.
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