Reads Listens Views 5/11/2012

NFL Head Trauma – My View

Kurt Warner’s recent comments on the risks of the game:

“They both have the dream, like dad, to play in the NFL. That’s their goal. And when you hear things like the bounties, when you know certain things having played the game, and then obviously when you understand the size, the speed, the violence of the game, and then you couple that with situations like Junior Seau — was that a ramification of all the years playing? And things that go with that. It scares me as a dad. I just wonder — I wonder what the league’s going to be like. I love that the commissioner is doing a lot of things to try to clean up the game from that standpoint and improve player safety, which helps, in my mind, a lot. But it’s a scary thing for me.”


And as a follow up:

I love this game, and I love what it did for me and my family. I love so many aspects about it that can teach kids and taught me and created who I am today through what I learned in this game. But at the same time, I have concerns. I understand the risks, I understand what goes in and what the cost can be to play this game. When you look at it from a football player’s (perspective), there is no doubt I love this game, and I’m passionate about it.

But when I look at as a father, I still have those concerns, and I worry about it when my kids go out to play. And then when you look at the other side, it’s not a hate, I don’t want to ruin this game. I want to prolong this game, I want to preserve it for generations to come, but we have to continue to be honest and we have to continue to dialogue about those concerns, those risks and continue to work together as a group. Those that are critics of me, those that don’t agree with what I say — we have to work together as a group along with the commissioner, the NFL, leagues all the way down to those like Pop Warner and say how can we make this game safe. How can we continue to try to eliminate those concerns, or at least minimize those for parents?

I don’t see a damn thing irresponsible or unacceptable about these comments. Apparently, Amani Toomer and Merrill Hoge think so. Toomer actually called Warner disingenuous and that “he should keep his opinions to himself.” Hoge said Warner sounded “irresponsible” and “uneducated.”

Here’s what I see:

Warner has the integrity, honesty, and love for the game to be willing to criticize it. Dissent has value. Our country was founded on it. It may not be easy to do or easy to hear, but when delivered from a good place it makes the lives better for many. The game is dangerous. There is a fine line between physical and brutal. What exactly is wrong about wanting to see the game change so that line is more defined towards one and not the other?

Nothing. Unless you come from a place of blind loyalty like Toomer and Hoge, which is a dangerous perspective. They appeared foolish on this topic this week and just like George Wallace at the steps of the University of Alabama in the video I reference in the link I have in the section below, they’re only going to appear more foolish as time passes.

It reminds me of Joe Theismann ripping Ricky Williams’ arrival to the Toronto Argonauts. I don’t know what Theismann might do privately to help people, but his ignorance about Williams was disgraceful in hindsight. I do know that publicly Williams is building a career where he’s really trying to help people without the aid of drugs. Meanwhile Theismann is hawking prostate drugs on late-night TV.

The great equalizers of the Universe are hilarious when you’re patient. Hoge and Toomer might want to keep that in mind.

Thank You

One of the most gratifying experiences I’ve had this year is the opportunity to donate 10 percent of 2012’sRookie Scouting Portfoliosales to Darkness-to-Light. I received a phone from one of D2L’s employees, Doug Warner, who I want to share the gratitude that the organization expressed for us contributing to this campaign to educate the public on ways to recognize, respond to, and ultimately prevent sexual abuse in our communities.

Doug told me that it only costs D2L $10 to train an adult, which means what the Rookie Scouting Portfolio was able to contribute will go a long way towards increasing training opportunities to handle and prevent this epidemic problem. The more enlightened people we have working with children, the less opportunities exist for abusers to have access to children. Thanks to all of you for giving me the opportunity to give back to a cause that ultimately affects us all.

If you haven’t gotten the 2012 RSP – you have even more incentive to do so with the release of the Post-Draft Add-on that has received a ton of great feedback. The Add-on comes with the purchase of the 2012 RSP, so it’s no extra charge, but it includes 56 pages of great draft analysis:

  • Overrated/Underrated Players
  • Good Fit/Bad Fits with Teams
  • UDFAs to Watch
  • Long-Term Projects
  • Post-Draft Rankings and Commentary
  • Tiered Dynasty Rankings Cheat Sheet
  • Draft position values

While 90 percent of the RSP sales go to my business expenses such as maintaining this blog, travel to the Senior Bowl, investing and upgrading my methods for film research and product development, etc., every five people who buy the RSP generates enough to train someone who is now equipped with the knowledge to recognize and deal with sexual abuse in the community.

One of the most insidious aspects of this abuse is the general ignorance of reactions that accompany it and compound the problem for the victim. Far and away, what I read on a weekly basis is that abuse either continued or the abuser was never charged because the community was afraid to make a false accusation and ruin an innocent person’s life. D2L has stats that show that a damning majority – well over 95 percent – of complaints that children make turn out to be true.

Abusers – as is the case with Jerry Sandusky – are also the ones with a lot of power in these kids’ lives. Warner provided a list of athletes that publicly acknowledged that they were sexually abused as kids. Authority figures or people in roles of trust are prominent on this list as the abusers:

  • Muhammad Ali was abused by a boxing coach
  • Sugar Ray Leondard was also abused by a boxing coach
  • Brandon Burlsworth – Former All-American offensive lineman for the Arkansas Razorbacks
  • Laveranues Coles
  • Former NHL star Theoren Fluery was abused by his childhood hockey coach
  • NHL’s Sheldon Kennedy also abused by a childhood coach

This may not be the way you want to start a Friday, but much of the battle is keeping this issue on the forefront of our consciousness and learning more about the ways we can make society safer for our children.


An Unsung Hero of America’s Desegregation Dies – If you think the ridiculous political spin that exists today is new, just click the link in this article to watch former Alabama Governor George Wallace at the schoolhouse steps at the University of Alabama.

How Mitt Romney Bullied a Gay Student – I’m all for the allowance that boyhood behavior doesn’t define the man. However, a man takes responsibility rather than the weak explanation he’s proffered.

How Obama Compares to Bush on Torture, Surveillance, and Detention – This may come across as “Romney, Bad…Obama, Better,” but it’s not the intent. The fact that there’s more comparison than contrast in this timeline isn’t a good thing, in my opinion.

Our Dwindling Food Variety – It can’t be a good thing that 93 percent of the the varieties found in 66 common crops are now extinct. From a collection of links called The Best, Most Disgusting Reporting on Food Safety

The Hulk on Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk – I haven’t seen the Avengers, but I like what I read about Ruffalo’s turn as the green Mr. Hyde.

Listens – Dead Combo

Dead Combo is a duo from Lisbon, Portugal that I heard on Anthony Bourdain’s show No Reservations.


Fat Sick and Nearly Dead – This is an inspiring film currently on Hulu. I highly recommend watching.

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