I have trouble doing this blog.  Sitting down and writing what I would say on this subject.  I see this lot of ways (so I asked Jason not to edit it to much and leave it a bit unfocused, because that is how I was and am while writing this).  I look at the issue not just Old timers playing with less for less in a physical game.  But what is the worth and cost of creating memories.  Also looking at the culture we have built around the tough guy.

Today owners live for profit.  If you’re a GM, coach, or player it is a “what you have done for me lately” League.  You can be the best at what you do but you can cost too much, ask Wes Welker.  I’m totally old school football but the game has changed, which means I have to also.  As physical and as strong as players are now health is an issue.  We can’t play dumb any more; if you play football you have a shorter life span with more health issues than the average person.  But they choose this life, they knew the risk (or did they) so should they be compensated?  Yes. With all the side effects we know about now. Nobody put themselves on the line more than the guys in football back in the day (remember leather helmet days, and not to mention the ability to tackle quarterback during any part of a play, because he wasn’t protected).  Most of them had to have a part time job… excuse me FULL TIME JOB just to play football.  These were the PROS.  You played till you couldn’t then you got up rubbed some dirt on it and played.

As far as compensation what is too little and what is too much?  A 250,000 minimum to little over 10 million a year too much?  We are all to blame.  Why?  Because we idolized these Gladiators, the question rather should be how you compensate or put a price on MEMORIES.  As a kid watching or playing in the yard imitating your favorite players, some or most of you would say that’s priceless, but these actions and memories were influenced by the fore fathers of the sport.  They built the love affair we have with the game now.  There would be no prima donna today without them. Too many millionaires, but not enough cents, if this game has ever touched you then they are owed, because of their sacrifice.

Us vs Them, one winner, and team first, we called that something…  Oh yeah PRIDE!  Playing hurt, knowing that tomorrow at work is going to suck.  Have you ever got around on a sprained ankle, a broken leg, or torn ACL?   Ouch!  Just playing in pick up sports you got hurt but played.  It’s just something you do.  It’s your boys looking at you saying “can you go”, and something in you just says “yes”.  Any weekend warrior knows this.  Competition, Adversity, it’s what sports are built on. You’re no where near getting paid but you play and you get hurt.  Now if you have this mentality, where do you think you picked it up at?  Usually from the old school tough guys in sports, you even knew that tomorrow you would be limping, swollen, and/or in a cast, but yet you still played.  Why, because showing weakness is not becoming of an athlete.

The athletes in the game today are incredible, so accurate, so high speed, so powerful, so dangerous, and so knowledgeable about the effects of the game on their future and just like the old guys they’d play anyway.  The question is not playing hurt, but how many times…  in a row will you be willing to play hurt.  Do they deserve a life after football, because they know the risk? Yes!  What kind of life?  Are they paid too much?  Will football ever be safe?   Should the NFL try to be safer?  No good answers but what is fair, I just don’t want to see a world without football.  So where will the line be drawn, because as long as there is fans there will always be players giving up everything including their futures.

My idol Roger Staubach retired because of concussions in ’79.  He had 9 or 10 officially, and who knows how many unofficially?  He is a successful businessman today, so the studies are not 100% in identifying what, how many, and what kind of person will eventually have CTE, or other health issues in the future.  If they did figure out they can detect it early on still begs the question would players quit or play through it?  That is my point, that sports has fostered an environment where playing through, or getting back ASAP is the only thing acceptable.  Hell what would you do when your boys need you out there and the person in the mirror wants to be out there.  When you’re competitive “I QUIT” are the hardest two words, not just to say but actually do.

Just sayin’

JD

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