Rev Al Sharpton today was quoted as saying NFL owners should offer Colin Kaepernick a QB roster spot. I agree with the sentiment - Kaepernick is talented was right to take a knee, but I hope very much that he not take such a job.
For far too long young people have played football, the main dynamic of which is full contact explosive violence against one’s opponents. In the early 1980s the Monday Night Football half-time highlights featured the ugliest plays of the week.
The plays weren’t called “ugly,” but that’s what they were. Today we know that incrementally the “hits” involved concussions. Years after days as junior high and high school play, knee replacement surgeries, not championships, were the dubious rewards.
Mr Kaepernick is an intelligent man of principle. I hope that if one or more (usually billionaire) owners of NFL franchises offer him a spot, Mr Kaepernick declines the invitation. He has to know the cost to thousands who played the game.
Kids with no other “hope” for advancement are easy prey. They break arms and legs. Worse, play after play, damage builds and eventually many suffer a “break” not mended by splints. The damage is to the brain - and for what?
Early onset of Alzheimer symptoms and depression that leads to suicide are not uncommon. We read of former stars who cannot function - and sometimes in their 20s. In the meantime, owners extort $$$$$$$ from cities and States.
I feel guilty when I watch a football game. I have been acculturated to football. I’ve been a Bears fan all my life - and, no, I don’t believe Packers fans are evil, only misguided. But it’s been far too long that we have subsidized billionaire owners.
By the way, as a DePauw alum, I have to observe - we have The Bell. Okay - I am a Hypocrite, but am in recovery.
The athletes also have benefited the NCAA - a not-for-profit corporation - that functions as a farm system subsidized by tax dollars. Public schools feed young people - all-too-willing recruits - into the maws of a huge entertainment system.
If you ever read an NCAA scholarship contract, you see “unequal bargaining” positions. Some of these kids know no other way to “make it.” The schools say nothing. Their alumni donors are intent on one season for champions.
Mr Kaepernick has the opportunity to make another great statement. He should say no to the game. There are improvements that can be made to minimize injuries. (And beefed-up safety equipment only leads to fiercer “hits.”)
The greatest thing for him to do is to speak out - as he has done quite bravely - against racism. A far uglier aspect of racism is to use these athletes as unpaid people who fatten the accounts of owners and universities - all for our amusement.
I’m Mark Small, GOP precinct committee person in Marion County, Indiana. Our kids should not be fodder for the entertainment industry. I approve of this blog. Hell, I wrote it.
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