June 5, 2012
Retired NFL Players
Every fall a majority of Americans count down the days to the start of every NFL season. It is the time of the year when people look forward to traveling to their favorite team’s stadium, or powering up the big screen to watch the game. The NFL provides an outlet every Sunday for people to relax and enjoy exciting entertainment. Everyone looks forward. So many people have invested themselves into their favorite team by purchasing season tickets, sporting countless items of team gear, devoting many hours to fantasy football, and gambling. It is no secret the level of impact that the NFL has on so many people of all ages and genders. The NFL does a great job marketing their product and brand to everyone across the United States. I personally look forward to see how my Bengals will fair every season. As every season passes, I become more and more encompassed with the National Football League. I find myself becoming more attached to every storyline throughout the entire year. I become more involved with the draft process, the training camp headlines, and free agent acquisitions. The sixteen game NFL schedule doesn’t quench my thirst, and I find myself wishing for more when the season comes to an end. Although the NFL produces a great product every Sunday afternoon, are they taking the necessary steps to protect and assist the people that make it all possible?
Like many of the millions of people that tune in for the NFL on Sunday, I used to find myself craving for the next big hit. I loved watching players like Ray Lewis and James Harrison smashing the receiver coming across the middle, or the running back trying to shoot through the line. It upset me when the National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell came down hard on players for hits that we all look forward to. I began to think and wonder why Goodell would want to try and limit the most electrifying aspects of the game. It wasn’t too long until my eyes were opened to the unpleasant underlying realty facing the game of football. A recent tragedy made me realize that the NFL wasn’t doing nearly enough to take care of the men that generate billions of dollars.
For all fans and players who think that these actions by Goodell are making the NFL “soft” or “wimpy” only need to go back a month and read what happened to Junior Seau. Junior Seau was a linebacker for the San Diego Chargers for the majority of his playing career. He was viewed by many as an automatic Hall-of-Famer and widely beloved in the NFL community. Seau played nearly two decades in the NFL, and committed suicide in early May. Seau was never sidelined for a head injury during his playing days, but was reported to have sustained multiple concussions during his playing career (Velasco, 2012). Seau was viewed as a warrior for not coming out of games due to injury, but that toughness spirit might have cost him his life. Junior is not the only former player to take his life. In February 2011, Dave Duerson shot himself in the chest, requesting that his brain be donated to the Boston University School of Medicine for research (Velasco, 2012). Later examinations revealed that the head injuries suffered during his NFL career resulted in significant long-term brain damage. Another example is former safety Ray Easterling. Easterling was a lead plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by a large group of former players against the NFL for failing to protect them from head injuries. Easterling committed suicide, and there were reports that he had suffered from depression, insomnia, and memory loss towards the end of his life (Velasco, 2012). These are just a few recent examples of victims to the game that brought these men so much fame and fortune. The bigger issue now becomes, how is the NFL dealing with the treatment of its former players. David Steele mentions his opinions in an article of the Sporting News. He mentions that the NFL has a...