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Seau Fanily Exposes Professional Football as "Violent," "Brutal" - Will it Change?

Untimely, Tragic Death of Junior Seau, Brain Disease Victim, is Unlikely to Bring Any Change to Violent Sport

To those that have come to believe that professional football is good, wholesome, family-friendly fun, I would prominently note the basis for the lawsuit that has been filed against the National Football League by the family of former New England Patriots star linebacker Junior Seau, a victim of suicide which was preceded by a brain disorder linked to repeated hits in his playing days.

The lawsuit accuses the National Football League of “glorifying the violence in pro football”, and “creating the impression that delivering big hits is a badge of courage which does not seriously threaten one’s health.”

It singles out NFL Films and some of its videos for “promoting the brutality of the game.”

Is the Seau family wrong? Does anyone care to challenge its characterizations of the game, and if so, on what basis?

Will the tragic and untimely death of Mr. Seau change professional football in any meaningful way?  It is not likely. He is considered mere collateral damage in America’s love of this “great sport.” Many people have become rich through their participation in a game which plays havoc with the lives of players during or after their careers, so the league cannot and will not place player safety uppermost in its mind.  It is likely to settle any lawsuits that are filed, getting the plaintiffs to go away, and considering payments made to be one of the routine costs of doing business. 

Professional football bears some similarities to the reviled tobacco companies/drug pushers. We know it is dangerous, that it results in untold injuries and even deaths, but it is legal, and we are addicted to it in its current form, so it will continue to thrive with little, if any change.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Ed M January 26, 2013 at 03:16 AM
"Professional football bears some similarities to the reviled tobacco companies/drug pushers." You really love to inject inane analogies, Oren. I'm betting you know very little about football and yet you pounce on this tragedy. Do you think it's possible the players themselves bear some or the responsibility for playing injured? And I'm guessing you don't know the NFL has made many rule changes to increase player safety. You should really stick to what you know, Oren By the way, what is it that you do know?
Roger January 26, 2013 at 01:28 PM
There are two parts of this story, and they are getting mushed into one. First, some now believe repeated hits to the head cause CTE, a brain disease. A pattern is emerging that leads some researchers to this conclusion. From my reading, the connection is very loose at this point, with the suggestion that much more work is needed. Second, another part of the story is that CTE is the reason for the suicide. While the first part of the story may be correct and will be collaborated with more research, the second part of the story seems like a very long stretch. This is a veiled attempt to explain behavior through scientific means. To be sure, there are certain disorders that create physical behaviors, this one seems like grasping at straws. Suicide is something that no family wishes to have happen their loved ones. The Seau family, in bringing their lawsuit to the NFL, appears to pin the blame for Junior's behavior on somebody else, something outside of himself. The sports world seems inconsistent. On one hand, they glorify football at many levels, yet ignore other cases where head blows are a primary part of the sport. What is the intention of a boxing match? It is to render your opponent unconscious for ten seconds though blows to the head. Some of the martial arts is focused on the same thing -- continuous and heavy blows to the head to render the opponent defenseless. At the same time, many wish to make mind-altering drugs more easily available.
Oren Spiegler January 26, 2013 at 01:56 PM
Roger, sound and intelligent analysis, as usual. I agree with the second part of your post. While I am extremely sympathetic to the Seau family for what its members have endured, I cannot countenance this lawsuit. Players knew or should have known what they were getting into when they agreed to engage in the brutality of professional football in exchange for acclaim and a great deal of money. I suspect that the real purpose of the lawsuit is to further bring to light the violence inherent in the sport with the hope of saving others from Junior Seau's plight. On that count, I hope the family succeeds.
Roger February 01, 2013 at 01:41 AM
Today's edition of WSJ has an article on this topic. Fran Tarkington writes a very good piece, like he has before. The article requires subscription, but the video is open access. What he says in the video captures the essence of the written piece, http://live.wsj.com/video/opinion-fran-tarkenton-rips-the-nfl-over-doping/85FA1716-E717-409D-9D8F-6EC96E9096BC.html#!85FA1716-E717-409D-9D8F-6EC96E9096BC

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