There are three sports, at least, that have no place in American society:
- Football: This “sport” is so destructive to its players that it needs a complete remake.
According to the Washington Post, “Researchers studying the link between football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) found that 99 percent of the brains donated by families of former NFL players showed signs of the neurodegenerative disease, according to a new study…
“In all, researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine and the VA Boston Healthcare System examined 202 brains that belonged to men who played football at all levels and were later donated for research. They found CTE in 177 of them – 87 percent.
“While they found evidence of the disease across all levels of play, the highest percentage was found among those who competed at the highest level; all but one of the 111 brains belonging to ex-NFL players were diagnosed post-mortem with CTE.”
But it’s not only the brains that are affected. The sport has more than its share of spinal cord injuries and injuries to knees and legs. Young men who opt for a career in the NFL are sacrificing a long life of good health, and many of them condemn themselves to the life of a cripple or worse at the end of their careers.
A 20-year-old never thinks that it “can happen to me,” and are enticed into this despicable career by dreams of fame and fortune. With the possible exception of pampered quarterbacks, they are all subject to horrific injuries to their bodies.
But there’s so much money in the game for the promoters, advertisers, TV industry and the players who last more than the average three-year career, that asking that the game be cleaned up and made less injurious has been a pipe dream. The next time you watch an NFL game (and I watch most of them), think of the cigar-smoking oligarch owners who are making billions at the sacrifice of young men’s health and welfare, at absolutely no risk to themselves.
Parents should take a stand and refuse to allow their children to engage in tackle football. Further, Pop Warner football should be against the law. The brains of young children are far more susceptible to injury than those of grown-ups. Children should never be allowed to play a sport like Pop Warner tackle football.
As a postscript, I cringed when Los Angeles politicians fought to bring the morally corrupt NFL back to the city. I always thought that Los Angeles was the only truly “major league” city because it did not have an NFL franchise. A pox on the Mayor and politicians who stood in line and begged to get the NFL back, and not just one team, but two! They didn’t have the courage to put it up for a vote of the citizens. I’m confident it would have been voted down by huge majorities, and I challenge Mayor Garcetti to put a vote on the ballot questioning whether or not Angelenos want the NFL here, even though it is now a done deal. But don’t hold your breath.
Those in office don’t give a Continental what the citizens of their city think, witness the way they have given bicycle riders rights of way on all the streets of the city, reduced lanes, and generally made life miserable for those of us who drive cars, all to force us to use the inadequate “public” transportation that doesn’t work. Try writing a City Councilman or County Supervisor. I did. I wrote Supervisor Janice Hahn and was totally ignored.
- Boxing: I’ve been over this before. What two boxers do to one another would be a felony outside of the ring. Anybody found guilty of what they do to one another could get 10 years in prison. But when Emile Griffith killed Benny “Kid” Paret in the ring he didn’t get a life sentence. Instead he was crowned a “Champion!”
- UFC (Ultimate Fighting): If boxing is morally despicable, this “boxing without rules” where opponents may hit each other when they are on the ground, kick and gouge each other, and boxing gloves are not allowed, is nothing more than legalized mayhem.
Here’s how LBNElert described a recent match: “Jon Jones reclaimed his UFC light heavyweight title by stopping Daniel Cormier in the third round with a vicious head kick and a finish on the ground at UFC 214” (emphasis added). How can any civilized society allow this, much less call it a “sport?”
Anybody associated with boxing or UFC does not belong in polite society. For those who call themselves “fans,” I’d like to hear their justification for taking delight in seeing one person batter another senseless. As far as I’m concerned, anybody who derives pleasure from such a spectacle is sick.
Tony Medley is the author of three books including “UCLA Basketball: The Real Story,” the first book written on UCLA basketball. Visit TonyMedley.com.