December 14, 2014

So Ya Wanna Play Football

There is an article in the NY Post detailing the injuries and financial hardships of retired NFL football players. A number of players suffer dementia, debilitating joint pain, and bankruptcy...
While much-publicized concussions and head injuries account for some of the problem, they’re just one possible hardship of many for those who spend years slamming into each other at full speed.

“Since 2011, at least seven NFL players or former players have committed suicide,” the authors write, noting that one of these, Jovan Belcher, “also killed his girlfriend.”

Super Bowl quarterback Jim McMahon suffers from dementia. Hall of Fame running back Earl Campbell “can barely walk,” and “quarterbacking legend John Unitas lost the use of [his] hands and fingers.”

Ex-NFLers Curt Marsh and Jim Otto have both “lost limbs to football injuries.”

On the money end of things, Terrell Owens “is nearly penniless despite earning top dollar for years,” and “seven-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Warren Sapp has filed for bankruptcy.”
Sapp's NFL earnings totaled over $82 million. Now he claims he has nothing.
Terrell Owens made almost $70 million in his career.  Also claims nada net worth today.
Earl Campbell has a net worth (2012) of $25 million.

Here is a list of all current NFL salaries.

Many of these players sound like they exercise the same fiscal restraint as the US government.

As far as injuries go, football players have been getting slammed down and banged up for well over a hundred years. And only now the players are aware of the risks? I call BS on this.

Here's some of the NFL's early history:
John Brallier became the first football player to openly turn pro, accepting $10 and expenses to play for the Latrobe YMCA against the Jeannette Athletic Club.
The Allegheny Athletic Association team fielded the first completely professional team for its abbreviated two-game season.
The Latrobe Athletic Association football team went entirely professional, becoming the first team to play a full season with only professionals.
A touchdown was changed from four points to five. Chris O’Brien formed a neighborhood team, which played under the name the Morgan Athletic Club, on the south side of Chicago. The team later became known as the Normals, then the Racine (for a street in Chicago) Cardinals, the Chicago Cardinals, the St. Louis Cardinals, the Phoenix Cardinals, and, in 1994, the Arizona Cardinals. The team remains the oldest continuing operation in pro football.
William C. Temple took over the team payments for the Duquesne Country and Athletic Club, becoming the first known individual club owner.
I don't want to marginalize these injuries. I watched the 1986 game where the Bears Jim McMahon was picked up by the Packers Charles Martin *spit* and slammed to the ground. I was outraged. Martin should have been arrested.

But let's put this in perspective. Football players are not indentured servants; they are all volunteers and they make a damn sight more money than our people in the armed forces, police and fire who face greater risks.


Fredd said...

I couldn't agree more, Sig. Every one of these guys know that playing football hurts, and they have known this ever since they strapped on their first Pop Warner shoulder pads and got hammered by a third grader who outweighed them by 50 pounds.

Every damn one of them knows all about this.

Doom said...

I would have loved that kind of pay. The risks I took ended up being more severe, for $350 every two weeks as a P.O. 3rd. Then again, I'm not sure I would have changed places. I wasn't doing it just for me, definitely not for the money, and liked what I was doing and why. Leaves little room for sympathy.

Once I realized I wasn't going to die, I even martialed my comparative pittance into a nice little living, and still feel, perhaps, that I have too much. Yeah, not a lot of sympathy.

Anonymous said...

While I don't like former NFL players crying about their injuries, I do think the early players, the older ones who built the league are owed by the rich owners who now make so much money from what they helped make. The players with the multi-million dollar contracts and endorsements aside, they should fund care for these former players because without their sacrifice, they would not have the "game" they have today.

On the violence side, I have seen too much that has gone beyond sport and fairplay. Headhunting and dirty play should be dealt with harshly by the league and yet careers are ended and the thugs who commit these on-air attacks are promoted as tough guys in the league. The game has gotten faster and more violent without unnecessary violence. It is out of control and is one reason why I have stopped watching the NFL. Another once great aspect of America that has gone to shit.

sig94 said...

Fredd - Yes, it is a shame that they're hurt, but I really can't put these guys in the same picture as the GI's at Walter Reed.

sig94 said...

Doom - that's kinda zen of you. The Apostle Paul also spoke as you do - Philippans 4:11.

sig94 said...

allamerican - good idea. Some of that blame can also be placed on some of the fans who want to see the opposing players crushed. I hate to see players carted off the field. Perhaps I am wrong, but I feel that there are many decent men in the NFL who don't take cheap shots and have no desire to hurt another player.

Euripides said...

You're absolutely right. These guys know what they're getting into. My friend who lives across the street is an ex-college ball player and he's had his kneecaps replaced already. But to him, college ball was an enjoyable way for him to get a college education. Pro players have no excuse to complain.

sig94 said...

Euripides - 24 years as a cop and I had both my knees replaced within the past 12 months. One knee was from a drunk blasting me with his cowboy boot.

Euripides said...

Sig: And you went into police work with your eyes open.

sig94 said...

Euripides - no regrets.