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Robert Littal
National Blogger

Robert Littal

CEO of Black Sports Online which brings the truth in sports.

Players' Choice

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When I was a kid there was a question that always came up while we were playing kick ball during the recess.

"If someone offered you a million dollars would you fight Mike Tyson?"

The bullies always answered yes, the nerds always no and I always had to think about it. Even at an early age I liked to weigh the pros and cons of things before making a decision. I would be taking my life in my hands if I got in the ring with Tyson, but think about the financial security I would enjoy.

This leads us to the Congressional hearings going on today on the effect that playing in the NFL has on brain injuries and what can be done to lessen the long term effects that a lot of former athletes are suffering.

There is one thing I want to be perfectly clear about. I honestly believe the NFL is doing all they can do for the safety of the players. I once saw Tom Brady at an industry event and when I shook his hand I was flagged for "roughing the passer." I don't think the NFL is purposely doing anything that jeopardizes the long term health of their players.

With that being said the reason so many people love the NFL is because of the violence. Watch this video of Adrian Peterson destroying William Gay:

I think everyone knows that Peterson, if he keeps running with this style, will not last long in the NFL, but I know I wouldn't want him to run any other way. We are selfish as fans and our society as a whole loves violence. It is why UFC and boxing are still able to generate millions of dollars in PPV revenue in a recession.

The NFL consists of hundreds of mini knockouts over a three hour period. To play in the NFL you have to know that you are taking you are taking a huge risk every time you step on the field. This isn't a sport for the weak of heart and there have been studies showing that life expectancy of an NFL player are a lot shorter than say a writer for the Washington Post.
If the NFL were to continue to soften the rules I can guarantee you they will lose a part of their audience who is already annoyed that some of the physical nature of the game has been toned down.

With that being said, the NFL is doing the best job it can. The players are the one who are making that decision to get in the ring with Mike Tyson. The question is, do they end up like Michael Spinks or do they end up like Buster Douglas? That is a chance they are willing to take.

By Robert Littal  |  October 28, 2009; 3:30 PM ET  | Category:  Concussions , Medical , NFL , Roger Goodell Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: My Fault | Next: Protect for the Future

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The NFL continues to increase the number of fans and revenue, despite the measures taken to reduce injuries such as rules against roughing the passer, helmet blows, face mask grabs, horse collars, blocks to the back, etc.. Many of those rules were absent when I was a kid. So doing more to protect the player will not decrease its fan base.

Posted by: 1230slim | October 28, 2009 11:15 PM

The NFL continues to increase the number of fans and revenue, despite the measures taken to reduce injuries such as rules against roughing the passer, helmet blows, face mask grabs, horse collars, blocks to the back, etc.. Many of those rules were absent when I was a kid. So doing more to protect the player will not decrease its fan base.

Posted by: 1230slim | October 28, 2009 11:16 PM

There are many technologies and plenty of know-how available for substantially improving the design and protection afforded by sport helmets. So to all those who say that the 100,000 concussions in the USA, and the dozen or so deaths, every year are unavoidable: hogwash to your willful ignorance!! What you are saying is that you are willing to accept this collatoral damage because you love the sport more than player safety.

In fact, the sad situation we have today with helmet safety is an ECONOMIC issue, not a scientific, technical, or medical one. What we have is mass denial, on the part of players, coaches, and sports doctors, many of whom are simply ignorant about the science of brain injury, which again, has been evident for many decades.
I respectfully submit that all of you who love the sport more than the safety of the players must understand that you are complicit in the reduced mental capacity of millions of Americans over the last decades!!!

Posted by: AgentG | October 29, 2009 2:32 PM

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