Would someone reading this please help me? I’ve got a real problem on my hands and I’m out of answers.
I’ve lost count of the number of days and nights NFL reps have pounded on my door trying to force me to play professional football.
All I simply want to do is follow my dream of living in middle class America, living paycheck to paycheck. I really just want to be locked in to a dead-end job somewhere, hopefully working in a cubicle where I can’t see daylight until I clock out. Or if I’m lucky, I’ll get to spend my days down in a mineshaft.
I just want to do something with my hands for 40 hours a week in hopes that I’m awarded two measly weeks of vacation where it’s all I can do to muster up enough cash to take my family to Panama City, Florida. Or if I get fancy, Gatlinburg.
But no. NFL team owners, coaches and representatives have other ideas. They’re trying to force me to play in the NFL, where my signing bonus alone could retire my current mortgage with one stroke of the pen. They want to put me in the top 1% in world’s economy, where one year’s salary, if managed correctly, with a little discipline, could set my entire family for life.
It doesn’t to me either.
But if I hear one more former professional athlete whining about concussions I’m tempted to assemble an army of coal miners and kindergarten teachers to kick his butt.
Last week’s death of Junior Seau has once again opened discussion on the long-term effects of playing professional sports, when the discussion should center on the fact that no one made him enter the arena to begin with.
Don’t get me wrong; Seau’s death is a sad one. Just ask his mother. Suicide is one of the saddest tragedies in this world because it’s one of the most selfish acts a person can perform. You think all your problems go away with one shot, but instead you only transfer all your despair to the innocent feet of the ones who love you…the ones left to pick up the pieces of what you’ve done.
But Seau certainly wasn’t alone. Jim McMahon has made a living crying about the long-term effects of his injuries. The former Chicago Bears quarterback has sought sympathy…and more…over concussions he suffered during his career.
And of course, McMahon isn’t alone. This month more than 100 former NFL players filed a federal lawsuit in Atlanta claiming that pro football didn’t properly protect its players from concussions.
According to the AP, these players are among over 1,000 former players suing the league that greased their palms earlier in life: The same league that made these players’ fortunes possible. Fortunes, mind you, that these gentlemen would’ve never enjoyed coaching high school football. Or selling cars. Or running a lawn service.
If only they weren’t forced to play that evil game.
The fact is, every one of them somewhere in their football journey were faced with this realization:
“Hey, you know what, football is a violent game. I’m using my dome as a missle, and that could be bad. I might want to consider another way of making a living.”
Exactly zero of them were awakened from their beds by the NFL gustapo, forced at gunpoint to don the colors of an NFL franchise. No, exactly all of them did so willingly, cashing every last fat paycheck the league threw their way. And now that their careers are over, they want more.
Every football player from seventh grade on understands that injury is part of the game, having either experienced it themselves or witnessing a teammate go down. It’s why college juniors forego their senior seasons to avoid injury and cash in on their talents while they can.
Now don’t get me wrong, concussions are obviously a real issue. But there’s a reason we no longer have real jousting in this world. It’s because somewhere in history someone said “You know, I really don’t want to risk taking a wooden steak through the chest whilst riding on horseback. I think I’ll do something else.”
And until the game of football reaches a similar fate as jousting, due to the same self-preserving realization among its players, I simply don’t want to hear it.