Monday, February 05, 2007

consider yourselves on notice.

This should probably be the attitude of the NFL and the NFLPA, as Jesse Jackson has got himself involved in the issue between retired players and the NFL over disability benefits, as the issue continues to gain a good head of steam with Mercury Morris' recent profile in the Washington Post, former Patriot Ted Johnson's accusations blaming Coach Hobo for his mental health issues, and Mike Ditka blasting the league in Super Bowl coverage on the matter.

If the Rev gets in deep, expect plenty of examples of his School of Meaningless but Rhymed Oratory in the discussion, but also, expect the NFL and the Players' Union to make some serious changes if this is the case. Regardless of what you think of Jackson (the truth lies somewhere in the massive murk between civil rights leader and shameless huckster), but he got U.S. hostages back from Yugoslavia in the 90s -- and it's hard to say no to someone who did that, never mind his organizing power and soapbox. (Although, as the Right Reverend Chris Rock once cracked about Jesse's hostage saving trip, "I bet Jesse said, 'You really want to piss off those fuckers? Give the hostages TO ME!")


Head Chick said...

Yeah, there are bigger issues in the world, but I'm glad to see Jesse addressing this. I understand from a business perspective that the former players aren't owed anything, but morally, it just ain't right. Especially when you're talking about necessities, not making some guys rich.

Mini Me said...

What needs to be done? Look it is sad what is happening to Ted Johnson. But he knew this was a possibility when he decided to play football and get millions of dollars to bash his body into other people's bodies. He knew this was possible and he risked it because he got millions of dollars in return. If he didn't want to have this condition than he shouldn't have risked playing football has a career.

Signal to Noise said...

There are a couple ways to fix this that ought to be put in place, one on the player's end and the other on the league and the union:

1) Professional athletes of all stripes never strike the sports devotees as the most financially responsible of people (no matter how many SI profiles about side businesses of top pros that I read). If you're gonna play a debilitating game for a career that could be very, very short, put that money away and make it work for you. You could be out of the game with one injury -- be smart.

2) Guarantee some of the contracts (all may be utterly impractical, given how many players NFL team rosters are stocked with.) As much of a "play at your own risk" factor is part of an NFL career, no one should have to make the personal decision between doing further damage to a concussion and getting cut. (This is different from external physical injury, which is more easily diagnosed.)

More of my sympathy lies with Morris rather than Johnson, because the old school guys were tied down prior to free agency, and the majority of 'em had to pull day jobs in the off-season. But if head coaches actively push players to come back from serious head trauma early, we've got problems. I think Trent Green's layoff this season with the Chiefs is probably more the norm that we'll be seeing for return time now.

Charles said...

School of meaningless but rhymed oratory.........Christopher Buckley?