It’s not often I’ll get heavy in this space, but in light of what’s been going on in and around the previously bullet-proof world of the NFL, it’s time.
Junior Seau. Head shots. Concussions. Bounties. Dementia. Lawsuits. On and on and on.
In the wake of the multi-day party that was the NFL draft, we’ve been inundated by nothing but awful, depressing and, in some cases, genuinely tear-jerking news.
In short, I have one message to deliver to every single parent with a child asking to strap on a helmet for the first time and take the field in an effort to emulate his or her favorite 49er, Raider, Patriot, Raven, Jet, whatever.
Here’s what you say: “No way in hell.”
Don’t allow it. Just say no. No matter how much you love the game of football, by allowing your child to play it, you are putting that child in harm’s way.
What’s your primary responsibility as a parent? Debatable to a degree, but we can all agree that protection is right up there with education and provision.
Now more than ever, and I know it’s going to be an unpopular stance, I’m convinced that letting a child play football in its current form is to be blatantly negligent in the protection department.
Is this a knock on parents who already have allowed their kids to play the game? Not at all. I’m not going there. I get how popular the game is. I battled my own father, who didn’t allow my two older brothers to play football, for years about his stance. I loved the game. I was a decent athlete. I wanted to play football, dammit.
He finally relented and let me play as a high school freshman.
I suffered a broken collarbone on a hit after the whistle in practice before our fourth game of the season.
Does that mean everyone who plays is going to get hurt? Of course not. But wow, do we not have quite a bit of evidence suggesting that some sort of injury, should one play the game for a number of years, is inevitable?
And that one of those injuries could very well affect the brain?
Yes. And that’s why, if my kids want to play football when they come of age, I’m saying no.
SPEED ROUND: Pablo Sandoval’s hand injury is a tough one for the Giants to swallow, but there’s a potential solution that nobody considered in the immediate aftermath: Aubrey Huff. He’s played a ton at third base during his career, and while he hasn’t been on the hot corner since 2008, he has more experience there than anyone else on the roster. It’s worth a look. ... Trent Baalke, officially a genius. Turned one pick into four, addressed two significant needs in adding speed at wideout and in the backfield during the first two rounds. ... The Raiders? Not much to get all that jacked about, but hey, we knew that going in. At least a page has been turned, and that’s a good thing.