Kneeling For What? This Game Is Savage, The Black Blogger
Help me understand the significance of these huge signing bonuses that NFL football garner?
Now that the Boston Globe has released a story in it’s Sunday Edition that 42 of 100 New England Patriot players on the initial Super Bowl winning teams (2002-2005) have joined a suit against the National Football League and the league’s football helmet manufacturer Riddell. These players have alleged either severe brain damage or suffering brain trauma from playing America’s Game. That’s 42% of the 100 players 97 of the players from those teams are retired and only three of the 100 players remain active Tom Brady, Adam Vinatieri, and Ben Watson. So these 42 players most likely still are in the mid to early 40’s have either succumbed to brain-related injuries that can be tied directly to playing football. Or these players face an uncertain future now that the roar of those rabid New England crowds has died down. This future which may include multiple episodes of mental illness tied directly to the sport many choose to play without full knowledge of future detrimental physical effects.
Why are football contracts not fully guaranteed? How do 32 owners get to run for cover and not be financially responsible for the full term of the contract? If a player signs a 110 million dollar contract but only 42 million dollars of the contract is guaranteed. Then why not say the contract is for 42 million? What benefit are the unsecured 68 million dollars? It now has been medically proven that playing football like smoking cigarettes is hazardous to a human body/brain. Why not put a warning on every player's contract? Along with that warning add another prior to each televised or live game that informs the attending fans and the viewing audience that they are supporting a sport that can lead to future brain deficiencies, along with debilitating physical consequences of those participants they are about to see perform? Last year we were kneeling for Colin Kaepernick but the question I ask this morning is who kneeled for Junior Seau? Who kneeled for Mike Webster? Who kneeled for Dave Duerson? Who kneeled for Walter Payton? Who is going to kneel for Harry Carson whose facing an uncertain future? Or Lawrence Taylor is his life issues related to playing football? What about Anthony Dorsett whose facing an uncertain future? Who's going to kneel for those stars you cheer for today whose brains may be silenced tomorrow?
The first thing that the public should demand is that any signed contract between player and team be fully guaranteed for the total sum of the contract. We should kneel for that because many of our brothers won’t be able to remember the words or treasured memories of their wives and children; not to even mention the words to this nation’s national anthem. In addition, every college football player will be guaranteed a 6 year period to secure a degree, or degrees. No longer is year by year renewal acceptable to participate in college athletic tackle football. There is simply too much money, too much incentive to cheat, and too many ways to screw the college athletes.
In the event of a concussion, no player from high school to professional will be allowed to play for a minimum of 4 weeks, period, no exceptions. If that means expanding rosters by 50% so be it. Any player guilty of a flagrant personal foul will be suspended for a minimum of 4 weeks, no exceptions, but each incident will be reviewed by a team of independent specialists prior to the implementation of suspension. That should ensure that the offending player has the ability to not be unfairly judged. This gladiator game seems to have taken over all forms of sports media now for 12 months. America now watches players at combines, players at practice, players on golf courses, players at nightclubs, and players on the field. America can’t get enough football when the football players are capable of playing but when the final whistle blows on these men's careers they are forgotten. Then you hear America’s fans make the excuses. Well, they chose to play, they got paid to play, they knew the hazards, and these same fans will be cheering collectively for a whole new band of players. Yet, no one will be kneeling for all the ills that this violent game caused these men’s loved ones.
The NFL is indeed the premier "what have you done for me lately" professional sports business. The players play a sport with the absolute highest risk for permanent physical injury but have the least amount of financial or physical security. However, nothing replaces the guaranteed contracts that National Basketball Association and Major Baseball League players receive. These men face the least amount of risks but receive the highest reward. Why, and how does that happen? I understand the concept fully of injustice. My personal opinion is that football players are caught in a web of injustice that is being perpetrated by the major universities and professional football owners. It’s time to shut that injustice down. Only the fans can do it by kneeling and saying we can no longer accept the conditions that have caused so much damage to these players lives, and families.