So I imagine that I'm not the only one who watched that documentary tonight, and I'd have to assume that we'll see a media piece out about it soon enough, especially considering that it was partially put together by ESPN authors, but just, wow...
Obviously, it seems pretty self-evident that 1.) Playing football does increase your chances of having long term brain damage, and 2.) The NFL is going to do whatever it can at any cost to keep itself running, because it's a billion dollar industry and nobody in their right mind (no pun intended) would just be willing to toss all of that away.
Which leads to my torn conclusion on the matter. I played football in high school, as did most of my friends, and even though I live in Minnesota, my parents grew up in Chicago and I was born and raised as a Bears fan from the start, over twenty years worth of exposure to football. And frankly, I love the game, I love playing it and I love watching it... But to think that, I'm paying to watch these guys basically destroy any chance at living a normal life past football, it's hard to come to terms with, because it's hard to drop something you've been watching for years, and just abandon all support for it.
At the same time, these players should know, and should have known for awhile, that if you play football, like it says on the warning label of a helmet, there is a chance for injury, brain injuries, and potential death. Sure it doesn't say long term brain damage, but does it really need to? Because it seems self evident that if you take enough hits to the head, odds are it's going to do damage in the long run and you're going to pay the price. It doesn't take a warning label to tell a boxer that he's risking his head and brain to permanent damage by fighting. Therefore, I would like to think that most NFL players would consider this risk; make millions, but risk, essentially, the rest of your life to pain and suffering.
Now we're left with the question of, what do you do? Do you continue to support a sport that can, and probably would, contribute to long term brain injuries? Is there a radical fix for it in the rulebook, or even the elimination of helmets and pads has been considered, to lower the use of the body as essentially a weapon? Thoughts and ideas?