Football has been the choice opiate of the American masses for a long time and for good reason. There is something pretty unique about a sport that features the best athletes in the world trying to destroy each other every Sunday. Sundays are sacred in America, and it has nothing to do with church.
I used to be one of the sport’s addicts but I will no longer waste away my Sundays, stoned and oblivious to the myriad of problems that plague the NFL.
For as long as I can remember, most of my favorite sports memories involved NFL players taking and making spectacular hits, passes, catches and runs. But now, the thing that I most associate with the NFL is those same players completely forgetting their own memories and breaking the law.
Head injuries and concussions have long lurked in the shadows, quietly ruining football and its athletes. The last few years, we have found out that they are more dangerous that anyone could have imagined.
Evidence of a degenerative brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, was found in 87 out of 91 deceased NFL players’ brains by researchers from the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center, according to PBS. The condition, found in players with a history of concussions, can currently only be diagnosed postmortem.
In April, the NFL settled on a deal that would provide up to $5 million per retired player for head-trauma-related medical bills. The lawsuits, filed by hundreds of former players, claimed that the NFL knew of the link between concussions and long-term brain damage and either denied it or refused to inform their athletes of the dangers.
The NFL ignored scientific findings for years starting in 2005, when the disease was first brought to their attention, to prevent the public and its players from learning just how traumatic concussions are, according to the lawsuit settlement.
On top of lack of safety for players, the NFL is also turning a blind eye to an endless list of incidents involving murder convictions, child abuse, domestic violence, DUIs, players in rehab and on and on. The unethical and immoral upper management in the NFL doesn’t do anything to discourage these behaviors. Oh, you got a DUI? Apologize, and we’ll see you Sunday.
The NFL is so compelling to watch but the combination of how they have treated concussions and everything else bad about the league has completely turned me off the sport. I can no longer ignore these issues especially since the NFL chooses not to.
Sports will still be a part of my life, but I’m ready for time away from the NFL. Come Sundays, I won’t be watching.