Daddies Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Have Brain Damage

By now all you football fans out there (and I was one of you until the Patriots lost) have seen or heard about the following admonition by President Obama, which he offered in an interview with The New Republic:

I have to tell you if I had a son, I’d have to think long and hard before I let him play football.

The President’s accompanying reasoning was entirely sound, no matter how it must have made NFL gazillionaires, who are starting to pay for the long-term health effects of their game, cringe.

But, ultimately, the lucrative NFL product, as well as the money-making product of big-time college programs, depends on millions of American fathers (and many mothers, too) bringing their little boys to youth football practice and making sure they pound the hell out of each other.nfl brain injuries

Thus, to the extent that Mr. Obama may have made a few of those parents think about what repeated head-crashing, not to mention bone-shattering and ligament-ripping, may mean in terms of their kids long-term health, he has done the country a great service.

I doubt, though, that many in this football-crazed country will listen.

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6 Comments

  1. No, they won’t listen for sure. Tribal behavior and competitive violence is still seminal in (most) Homo Sapiens. Other evidence includes reality TV. 😦 🙄

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    • I have heard only a handful of NFL players react favorably to Obama’s remarks. Both of the current super bowl coaches have suggested strongly that there is nothing wrong with the game.

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  2. Some months ago, George Will wrote a column about high school football. I remember it because it is rare for George Will to string together two reasonable sentences. He said, in part,

    Football is entertainment in which the audience is expected to delight in gladiatorial action that a growing portion of the audience knows may cause the players degenerative brain disease. Not even football fans, a tribe not known for savoring nuance, can forever block that fact from their excited brains.

    And we know that football players have a life expectancy lower than men on average. Maybe some of the money that goes into football would better be spent on academics.

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  3. “I have to tell you if I had a son, I’d have to think long and hard before I let him play football.”

    And now for some truly boring anecdotal information!

    Unfortunately if you had a son that’s old enough to play football, then it’s doubtful that you will have a choice in the matter unless it never becomes an issue. When I was in high school I was quite athletic, meaning that I could run like the wind, and so I was selected for the high school football team. There was an exercise that we did, a footrace if you will, that involved running across the football field and back, and then at the end of the race yelling our names out loud. There were only two names that came up after each run, Runk and Gaskins.

    Sometimes I’d beat Runk and sometimes he’d beat me. We were supposedly the perfect wide receivers except for one small problem. I couldn’t catch a damn football to “save my life.” I quit before the first game and never played again. I was never really a big football fan to begin with, because I didn’t really find watching it on TV all that exciting, and for the record, I found the game boring. As a result my youngest son never grew up watching it on TV, and he never really got into football. The point is that we make choices for our children while they’re growing up by how we socialize them. A family is a micro-culture, and the most effective transfer of the greater culture we all live in. Football isn’t about sports, it’s about money. Now fly-fishing in the wilderness, that’s a sport!😉

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    • I for one and for what it’s worth, HL, find your anecdote insightful and instructive.

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    • I second Jim’s comments, HLG.

      You wrote,

      The point is that we make choices for our children while they’re growing up by how we socialize them. A family is a micro-culture, and the most effective transfer of the greater culture we all live in.

      That explains both the best and the worst of America, doesn’t it?

      Duane

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