Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Is Football Messed Up, or Is It Just Me?

I'm not ashamed to say that I'm a Washington Redskins fan. I haven't always followed pro football, and I lost interest about the same time as when Coach Joe Gibbs left the team the first time in the late '90s. Coincidentally they really stank right about the same time, but there was something wonderful about them.

I guess you had to be there.

Unfortunately, pro football has become even more of a behemoth, and if it seems like the bone-jarring plays have become a lot more painful, they have. According to this report on CNN, The Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy did a comprehensive study based on brain tissue samples (posthumously, I hope) from NFL veterans. Michael Vick is ineligible for this study as he has no fucking brain (nor does he have a soul).

The results from this study are redefining the level of long-term impact of a concussion. Severe damage has a name - Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Depression, sleep disorders, mental fatigue and worse have plagued players long after their retirement.

This is utterly tragic, and it surely points to a gross lack of player protection. In essence, The NFL is not looking out for its players in the best way possible. While this is sad, as an ardent MMA fan, I have serious questions about "legitimate" sports versus "barbaric" sports as dear old John McCain described the UFC. Actually, that racist motherfucker called it something along the lines of "human cockfighting." Certainly MMA is hard to understand if you're a pinhead, and it could easily be dismissed as a fad or not worthy of mainstream media, but while MMA fighters run the risk of getting knocked out cold, medical suspensions prohibit them from fighting until after a careful and long period. Last weekend, Andrei Arlovski got knocked out by Fedor Emelianenko at Affliction: Day of Reckoning, and it will be at least a few months before either Mssrs. Arlovski or Emelianenko will be allowed to fight by state controlled athletic commissions.

In the context of the NFL, those guys would have to suck it up, walk it off, and get back on the line of scrimmage as quickly as possible. Maybe not within the same game, but damned soon. There's a word for that kind of business practice: IRRE-FUCKING-SPONSIBLE.

I certainly hope that the NFL allows for greater care for the well-being of their players, but I also hope that the Redskins will win another Super Bowl trophy in the next couple years.

On a related note, how the fuck is American Football a legitimate sport, and there's slim to no chance that the UFC or some other MMA organization will have the mainstream appeal of a Madison Square Garden event? Shit, even World Wrestling Entertainment was at the Garden.

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