Smart Linebacker Wants To Stay Smart

Via ESPN:

BERKELEY, Calif. — San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland, one of the NFL’s top rookies this past season, told “Outside the Lines” on Monday that he is retiring because of concerns about the long-term effects of repetitive head trauma.

Borland, 24, said he notified the 49ers on Friday. He said he made his decision after consulting with family members, concussion researchers, friends and current and former teammates, as well as studying what is known about the relationship between football and neurodegenerative disease.

“I just honestly want to do what’s best for my health,” Borland told “Outside the Lines.” “From what I’ve researched and what I’ve experienced, I don’t think it’s worth the risk.”

Gustave_Courbet_-_Wrestlers

 

Borland’s rookie year in 2014 was pretty damn good.  He gained time when star ‘backer Patrick Willis went down with an injury six games into the season.  Thrown into the fray in a much-depleted defense, his stats were impressive:

107 tackles and a sack in 14 games, eight of them starts. He was the NFC’s defensive player of the week for his performance against the New York Giantsin Week 11. He led the 49ers with 13 tackles in that game and became the team’s first rookie linebacker with two interceptions in one game. He received one vote for NFL defensive rookie of the year.

He’s on a rookie contract, so the money he’s giving up right now isn’t stratospheric:  “only” $540,000 this year.  That’s saying goodbye to 10.5 times the US median income to keep his head on straight — and, of course, he’s forgoing however much might have come down the road.

This isn’t the beginning of the end for football.  To channel my inner Winnie, it isn’t even the end of the beginning.  But it is telling.

Beyond or before that, tip the hat to a young man with a strong sense of priorities and the intestinal fortitude to act on them.

Gustave Courbet, Wrestlers1853






103 replies
  1. 1
    PurpleGirl says:

    Smart man is acting on the smarts. It’s easier to give up the money before he becomes too accustomed to it. I wish him well.

  2. 2
    kindness says:

    Or maybe Borland saw the direction the Niners are going and decided to get out while the getting was good.

  3. 3
    BGinCHI says:

    Well, Danny, the world needs ditch diggers too….

    /Judge Smails

  4. 4
    NorthLeft12 says:

    Obviously a pretty tough decision to make…..continuing on the way he played as a rookie would set him up for at least in the $5 Million per year range.

    But if you believe that there is a high probability that you end up physically and mentally incapacitated in your late thirties to early forties, maybe it is not so hard.

  5. 5
    charluckles says:

    He is going into sports management and he’s smart. He may not be giving up as much money as first thoughts would imply.

  6. 6
    Chet says:

    Can’t wait for all the comments on sports radio and NFL fan boards about what a pussy he is.

  7. 7
    boatboy_srq says:

    @PurpleGirl: Ditto.

    Doesn’t hurt that he’s my kind of football player: linebacker, smart, talented, and woofy. Killer combination. Best of luck to him.

  8. 8
    Kylroy says:

    No, I’m pretty confident this is the beginning of…if not the end, something major if not fatal for the NFL. Someone having achieved the lifelong goal of being in the NFL, playing great in their rookie year, and then just leaving because of the health risks is pretty damn unprecedented. I’m waiting for the character assassination to start on this guy, so they can find something, *anything* else to explain his departure.

  9. 9
  10. 10
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Kylroy: yeah, it’s one thing to say “I just don’t feel like subjecting my family to all my time away” or something similar like a player in another sport might say. He’s saying the sport is going to wreck his health and the money’s not worth it. That’s a big deal.

  11. 11
    Quicksand says:

    @Kylroy:

    I’m waiting for the character assassination to start on this guy, so they can find something, *anything* else to explain his departure.

    I dunno man, there must be something wrong with this guy. Musta got hit in the head too many times ha ha ha.

  12. 12
    Doug r says:

    My grade 8 cross country teacher Dave Cutler used to be a linebacker before he became a place kicker. He survived many years in the CFL, but it being the CFL he was a gym teacher off season. But I guess not every linebacker can kick 55 yard field goals.

  13. 13
    Thoughtcrime says:

    @Kylroy:

    I’m waiting for the character assassination to start on this guy, so they can find something, *anything* else to explain his departure.

    Well, he sounds like a commie to me..after all, what’s he doing in the PRB?

  14. 14
    Amir Khalid says:

    Playing the devil’s advocate for a moment:
    Chris Borland’s decision might lead another promising player (or two) to have a think; and then to concur with Borland that the sport isn’t worth the risk to his future health, not even for NFL money. It highlights the idea, offensive and threatening to many who love the sport as it is, that American football is inherently unsafe. There are great passions and greater piles of money at stake here. Will there be a defensive backlash from the sport and its fans?

  15. 15
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    When I look at just the physical toll the game took on guys like Earl Campbell, never mind the neurological issues, I just can’t support it. Yeah, it was thrilling to watch Earl run the length of the field carrying three linemen on his back and a fourth clinging to his leg, but the dude can barely walk now. The cost is just too damned high.

  16. 16
    Kylroy says:

    @SatanicPanic: It’s an even bigger deal because of where in his career he is – walking away after an impressive rookie NFL season is about the most damning (for the sport) time he could leave. If his career was on a downswing, if he hadn’t already played and succeeded at the pro level, if he were a multi-year veteran who was walking away with a mountain of money – any of these would have provided reasons for him leaving beyond “this sport will kill me”.

  17. 17
  18. 18
    beergoggles says:

    It’ll just be the people who can afford to pass on the money that bail due to the dangers. The NFL will then become the hunger games. Ruin your body for our entertainment poor young man.

  19. 19
    TheoLib says:

    Back when Reagan’s Surgeon General Koop was in college, he was one of their football team’s star players. Took a hit to the head that affected his vision. His planned medical career was more important to him than football so he quit the team — took a lot of flak for it from his coach and other college “friends”. The rest of his life, he had to do eye exercises each morning to get his eyes to focus. He also went on to revolutionize pediatric surgery. (What I remember from his 20-year-old autobiography …)

  20. 20
    Redshift says:

    Good for him. I wonder also if he’s read the articles suggesting that future lawsuits against the NFL to cover health costs are likely to fail because after the current settlement, the league can claim they knew the risks.

  21. 21
  22. 22
    Kylroy says:

    @Amir Khalid: If I know America, the fans and sport will remain in denial as long as humanly possible. The talent pool will dry up in a generation or two as people don’t want their kids getting involved, and the sport will recede from public attention but limp along.

    Yes, I’m basically predicting it will got the route of boxing.

  23. 23
    Jeffro says:

    Disagree – it is the end of the beginning.

  24. 24
    Yatsuno says:

    He made a tough decision that will ultimately be the best thing for him. I wish him well.

  25. 25
    Chet says:

    @beergoggles: And as the basic sadism and exploitation at the heart of the sport becomes increasingly impossible to paper over, I would look for gridiron football’s fanbase to become much smaller but ever more intensely devoted. There’s always going to be a market for that shit in this country.

    It’s also my prediction (or my hope, anyway) that Cole eventually comes around to see his football fandom the same way he now sees his former Republicanism. i.e., “What the fuck was I thinking?”

  26. 26
    Laertes says:

    @Chet:

    Well, sure. And there’s a market for dog fights too. But nobody pays $4 million for a 30-second ad on the world championship of dog fighting.

    The interesting question isn’t “when does the very last football game happen?” The interesting question is: When does the NFL start shrinking? Measure that any reasonable way you’d like: league annual revenue, tv viewership, total stadium attendance, or whatever.

    The die-hards aren’t going anywhere. I’m going to invent a number totally at random and guess that 27% of the current fans will remain football fans until their foam hands are pulled from their cold, dead fingers. But everyone else is going to bail, and stuff like this hastens the day.

  27. 27
    Couldn't Stand the Weather says:

    Given the dangers and the cautionary tales (so many former players who are unable to function on just a basic level) that are out there, Borland’s decision is all too understandable.

    Forty years ago, players were smaller and slower, comparatively speaking. Steroids and other PEDs were barely a blip on the horizon. Now, beasts roam the turf, lean and mean 260 pound guys who run 4.5 40 yard dashes and bench press small houses. The violence of the collisions has got to be more than the human body will take, over the long run.

    I say this a lifelong fan. I get why he quit.

  28. 28
    Violet says:

    @beergoggles: Might as well have gladiator games complete with lions.

  29. 29
    Kylroy says:

    @Chet: I see gridiron football’s problem being that it’s always been dangerous, and modern players being the human equivalent of extremely overclocked computers has pushed it past the point most of society will accept it.

    I actually think it’s an awesome game – it’s reputation as a game of nerds in the UK came from console gamers encountering the Madden franchise – just unfortunately not one human beings are built to play.

  30. 30
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Laertes: And when do cities stop paying for stadia? San Diego appears ready to take a pass on building one for the Chargers

  31. 31
    Laertes says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    Another great metric.

    Last I heard, there was some talk in Los Angeles of handing over a bunch of tax dollars to NFL looters. I sure as hell hope that deal falls through one way or another.

  32. 32
    Kylroy says:

    @Laertes: Yeah, that’s the one way I can’t just slot the decline of the NFL into the same path as boxing. The NFL is more popular and lucrative than ever, despite a decade of major studies showing how awful the game is for players; boxing was declining for a while before concerns over health risks came up.

    As an additional concern, boxing just needed a few dozen gyms to find maybe a dozen stars to keep the sport going; the NFL requires a giant support structure to train enough players for 32 50+ player rosters. If the talent pool dries up, things will go south quickly.

  33. 33
    burnspbesq says:

    @Chet:

    It’s also my prediction (or my hope, anyway) that Cole eventually comes around to see his football fandom the same way he now sees his former Republicanism. i.e., “What the fuck was I thinking?”

    The football fandom is even harder to fathom. Cole is a lax guy.

  34. 34
    trollhattan says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Will there be a defensive backlash from the sport and its fans?

    The league is engaged in first-rate butt-covering and implicitly, the NCAA and public schools who feed the league are on notice as well.

    The science of concussions is not where it needs to be WRT accurate diagnosis and monitoring. The guidelines only guess as to when it’s safe to return to play and reality is a second concussion will do more damage than the first, and so forth. If the player isn’t completely healed, typical game contact will create more damage that will be masked by its very normalcy.

    “True” fans have the spectacle of popular ex-players openly suffering from lasting damage and that is having an effect. But you need to know that it is not a players or fans league, it is an owners, advertisers and broadcasters league.

  35. 35
    Brachiator says:

    @Chet:

    I would look for gridiron football’s fanbase to become much smaller but ever more intensely devoted.

    I guess that one day, football will decline in popularity. But here’s the crazy thing. Boxing is in decline, and yet various types of mixed martial arts competitions have sizeable, wild fan bases, and is often more brutal than boxing.

    And should we get rid of all sport? And while we are at it, why not abolish ballet and any other activity that puts its participants at serious risk for injury?

  36. 36
    Violet says:

    @Kylroy: Yeah, boxing is an individual sport and NFL football is a team sport. You just don’t need the same infrastructure for boxing.

    Football is something that starts with little kids and is a big part of schools’ structures and identities throughout middle school, high school and college before anyone gets to the NFL. If something begins to affect that–the pipeline of kids dries up, cities have second thoughts about building stadiums, etc.–it’s going to have problems quickly. You need lots of people for all those colleges and universities to have players. NFL can still have the pick of that larger group but it could be from a much smaller talent pool.

  37. 37
    srv says:

    @burnspbesq: Someone should find a way to sue the fans.

  38. 38
    Kylroy says:

    @Chet: If that competing league isn’t a multi-billion-dollar concern, it might mean the level of conditioning and competition is commensurately lower: this could make the game safer, as 200 pound players running 6 second 40s will do less damage than 300 pound players running 5 second 40s.

    Saf*er* does not mean safe, of course, and a league founded on a commitment to violence will probably be less safe in a thousand other ways. But still.

  39. 39
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Brachiator:

    And should we get rid of all sport? And while we are at it, why not abolish ballet and any other activity that puts its participants at serious risk for injury?

    No, just the ones that result in dementia.

  40. 40
    Kylroy says:

    @SatanicPanic: Like target shooting? Wait, sorry, got my correlation and causation mixed up there.

  41. 41
    Laertes says:

    @Brachiator:

    Fun fact: You’re the first person to use the word “abolish” in this thread.

  42. 42

    @Couldn’t Stand the Weather:

    Forty years ago, players were smaller and slower, comparatively speaking. Steroids and other PEDs were barely a blip on the horizon.

    And don’t discount the pressure to take those steroids and other PEDs as a reason to want out of the game. Even if the violence of the game doesn’t get you, the preparation to play might.

  43. 43
    Kylroy says:

    @srv: *facepalm* Yes, targeting millions of Americans for liking something that’s probably been part of their lives since childhood is sure to go over well.

  44. 44
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Laertes: I’m only hoping it goes through because it would get San Diego off the hook. At least there will be two teams in one stadium, so it’s a little less bad than having two separate cities get robbed.

  45. 45
    Laertes says:

    Suing the fans is neither practical nor necessary.

    My sister’s oldest boy is a natural. He’s fast, smart, big, athletic, and loves contact sports. A decade or two ago, a kid like that would absolutely be playing football, playing it well, and maybe hoping to play in college.

    But this kid, his parents put a stop to it when he was maybe 13 or so–when the kids were big enough that the hits started getting real, I guess.

    A lawsuit isn’t going to kill the NFL, and nobody is going to “abolish” it. What’s going to kill the NFL is a whole bunch of people like my sister.

  46. 46
    burnspbesq says:

    And this isn’t news. Pro football has been a meat-grinder since at least the 1960s, if not before.

    But there is this, from a player who went through the meat-grinder and came out the other side with his perceptions (and his writing ability–if you’ve never read North Dallas Forty, you should) intact.

    Pete Gent called his time in pro football “a hard, violent, and painful life.” But he never regretted it. “They were great years,” he wrote in 2003. “Terrifying. Thrilling. Happy. Sad. Most of all, they were ultimately satisfying.”

    http://fifthdown.blogs.nytimes.....orty/?_r=0

  47. 47
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    @Kylroy:

    boxing was declining for a while before concerns over health risks came up.

    Boxing always had a taint of corruption around it, even in its glory days before Don King and Bob Arum came along. Yes, pro football is also corrupt, but not as nakedly.

  48. 48
    Violet says:

    @Laertes: Has he found another sport where he can put his natural athleticism to work? Just curious what the substitute sports for football might be, or might be becoming. Kids will want to play sports.

  49. 49
    Laertes says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Where it counts, it’s parents, not players, making the decisions. If mom and dad won’t let you play when you’re 10, it doesn’t matter what you want when you’re an adult.

    When I was a kid, lots of people wanted their kids to be Dick Butkus. How many people want their kids to be Junior Seau?

  50. 50
    johnnybuck says:

    They should do away with pads and helmets. The armor makes the game more dangerous than the speed of the game, or the size of the players. Rugby is an incredibly fast violent game played without pads or helmets that results in far fewer injuries.

  51. 51
    Brachiator says:

    @Laertes:

    Fun fact: You’re the first person to use the word “abolish” in this thread.

    But that’s the direction of all the outrage, isn’t it?

  52. 52
    Laertes says:

    @Violet:

    Turns out he’s a pretty strong first baseman. The sport isn’t without dangers, but it’s miles from football.

    @Brachiator:

    I don’t think it is. “Abolish” reeks of government action, which is both implausible and unnecessary. Football is going to wither because kids stop playing. Not because Congress does something, because, ha ha. Congress.

  53. 53
    burnspbesq says:

    How many people want their kids to be Junior Seau?

    Not even Junior Seau.

    http://www.goduke.com/ViewArti.....EM_ID=4200

  54. 54
    trollhattan says:

    @Grumpy Code Monkey: Speaking of boxing.

    Australia medics call for boxing ban after Braydon Smith death

    Medical officials in Australia have called for a ban on boxing in the country after a fighter died. Braydon Smith, 23, was beaten on points by Filipino John Moralde on Saturday and collapsed in his dressing room. His life support was turned off on Monday after he failed to regain consciousness from an induced coma.

    Australian Medical Association Queensland president Shaun Rudd said the fighter’s death showed why boxing should be banned nationally.

    “We believe that a so-called sport where two people knock each other in the head as often as you possibly can to win a bout seems rather barbaric,” he told ABC in Australia. “You’re not allowed to hit the organs beneath the belt, whereas you’re allowed to hit the organ above your shoulder, which is the most important organ in the body.”

    The WBC Asian Boxing Council continental featherweight title bout between Smith and Moralde was held in Toowomba, Queensland. Smith was unbeaten in 12 fights prior to the bout and a family representative said the law student wanted to show boxing was not as dangerous as people feared.

    “He really wanted to change the image of boxing,” James O’Shea said. “A lot of times in this country the sport gets a bad rap. A big goal of his in life was to show people it’s not (a bad sport).”

    Boxing Queensland president Ann Tindall defended the sport’s reputation.

    “It’s a tragic accident, a tragic accident as you can have in a car or any other sport, there are many sports that have deaths in them. We don’t believe we’re immune, but at the same time we don’t believe it’s the boxing that’s going to actually harm any of our youngsters.”

    –BBC

    Poor kid.

  55. 55
    burnspbesq says:

    @Laertes:

    Where it counts, it’s parents, not players, making the decisions.

    Not entirely. If you were to survey the rosters of all 69 men’s D1 lacrosse programs, I’m willing to bet you would find at least 50 players with the words “first-team All-State in football” in their bios.

  56. 56
    Brachiator says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    No, just the ones that result in dementia.

    Why stop there?

    I got no problems, none, if boxing, football, hockey and all mixed martial arts “sports” disappeared tomorrow.

    Does rugby deserve a look? And why not any sports or activity which regularly produces significant, sometimes career ending injuries with long lasting repercussions?

  57. 57
    Violet says:

    @johnnybuck: The study of head injuries and their effects in rugby is behind that of American football. They’re studying it, though. Check out this article, which discusses it. There’s a documentary called Head Games looking at the issue in contact sports, including rugby. I remember reading the first former player has been identified who has memory problems at a young age, they think because of his rugby years and head injuries during that time.

    Professional rugby players are much larger than they were ten and twenty years ago, and the sport is that much more dangerous.

  58. 58
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Brachiator: You don’t think there’s a difference between dementia and bad knees or a bad back?

  59. 59
    trollhattan says:

    @Laertes:
    Heck, I’m keeping my eye on soccer now that my kid is U14. The play is much faster, the players larger and stronger, and she has two friends who missed the last part of last season, benched with concussions. Then there are the ACL injuries.

  60. 60
    Violet says:

    @Laertes: Interesting. I had the impression baseball is declining in the US.

  61. 61
    Elizabelle says:

    @Laertes: That’s the way it’s going to go, too.

    This is maybe the beginning of the beginning of the end of pro football as now played. Maybe it can morph into something less dangerous.

    Didn’t someone suggest having a no substitutions rule? That would cut down on cattle-sized humans.

    And lose the tackles and all the “protective” gear. Must it be combat, or today’s equivalent of taking down a wild boar, in HD?

  62. 62
    Dupe70 says:

    People are asking if he will be vilified for making such a personal decisions. Mike Florio has an answer for you: http://deadspin.com/retiring-f.....1691918793

  63. 63
    Violet says:

    @Elizabelle:

    Didn’t someone suggest having a no substitutions rule? That would cut down on cattle-sized humans.

    That’s how rugby is played and how American football was played way back in the day. Players played both offense and defense. In rugby if the ball changes hands, the players on the pitch keep playing, they’re just now playing offense or defense, whichever is opposite of what they were just playing. They have a run a lot more. The game also keeps going without a zillion commercial breaks, like soccer does. I like that more although there’s some strategy to working time outs and breaks in American football.

    Don’t kid yourself that no substitutions would mean players would be smaller. Rugby players have increased in size substantially since the 90’s and it’s becoming a bigger problem in the sport for injuries.

  64. 64
    Laertes says:

    @Violet:

    I dunno. Maybe it is? But it’s not in decline because parents are scared to let their kids play. So my nephew plays.

  65. 65
    Brachiator says:

    @Laertes:

    I don’t think it is. “Abolish” reeks of government action, which is both implausible and unnecessary. Football is going to wither because kids stop playing.

    Should there be pressure on school and college programs? Often here we are talking about government sanctioned activities.

  66. 66
    Tommy says:

    My grandfather was a doctor. He told my parents back in the 70s not to allow me to play football. That me getting hit in the head isn’t a good idea.I am always stunned that people seem to think it is 2015 and they just have found getting hit in our head might be a good thing. Pretty sure we’ve known that for a long time.

  67. 67
    Laertes says:

    @Brachiator:

    I think science is going to kill football all by itself, with or without any assists from the government.

    When you have the laws of nature on your side, who needs Congress?

  68. 68
    jl says:

    There was a news piece about another football player who quit because he wanted a better life. Looks like it was on CBS evening news.

    Jason Brown gave up a $37 million contract to farm in NC.

    Why a star football player traded a NFL career for a tractor.
    Steve Hartman CBS News
    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/fo.....-for-good/

    Edit: might be autoplay video at link.

  69. 69
    grandpa john says:

    @Violet: here in the South at least in Rec league, middle and high school, and even on the college level, the rising sport appears to be Soccer, both boys/men and girls/women

  70. 70
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    I remember when I used to see Alex Karras everywhere. Remember his legendary scene in Blazing Saddles?

    From his 2012 obit:

    Alex Karras, who gained fame in the NFL as a fearsome defensive lineman and later as an actor, has died. He was 77.

    Craig Mitnick, Karras’ attorney, said Karras died at home in Los Angeles on Wednesday, surrounded by family.

    Karras had been suffering from dementia. He was among the more than 3,500 NFL players suing the league regarding the treatment of head injuries.

  71. 71
    Laertes says:

    @Brachiator:

    Besides, football is just not a very likely target for government action. There’s a ton of money behind it, its fans are more dedicated than its detractors, and it’s manufactured in a great many states. Those three properties, taken together, make it pretty safe from congressional action.

  72. 72
    Mandalay says:

    O/T:
    The goods news:
    – The vile DWS has confirmed that she will not run against Rubio for his Senate seat.
    – This clears the way for Patrick Murphy to run against the dumb pipsqueak.

    The bad news:
    – Murphy’s seat, which resulted in Allen West getting kicked out of Congress, will not be a walk in the park for Dems to retain.

    Still, even if we lose a seat in the house to evict Rubio from the Senate, it will be an overall victory.

  73. 73
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    According to the NYTIMES, Bibi has announced his victory.

  74. 74
    Calouste says:

    @johnnybuck: Main difference is that in rugby you’re only allowed to touch the player with the ball, and that player can pass the ball along any time. Also no tackles above shoulder-height, and you can’t just barge into a player.

  75. 75
    jl says:

    Recent bizarre and IMHO creepy turn in 49er management, which is bailing bucket loads of fail right now, may have made his decision easier.

  76. 76
    grandpa john says:

    @Violet: Baseball here in the south is still very popular at the youth rec league/ prep/ college level of competitive sports.

  77. 77
    Tommy says:

    @jl: You watch to almost the end of that video you linked to and the guy wants to give away everything he grows. Let me say that again, wants to give away his product. That is so freaking cool. The world needs more people like him.

  78. 78
    Wally Ballou says:

    @Dupe70: Florio is such a pluperfect exemplar of everything I’ve come to despise about the NFL, its fans, and its culture.

    Fuck all of it with a rusty spork. Bring on Opening Day.

  79. 79
    mdblanche says:

    @Germy Shoemangler: From the exit polls it sounds like Likud and the Zionist Union both overperformed and almost tied with the Arab List coming third. If this holds up a unity government is likely with the Arabs as the official opposition. There was a spike in turnout in the final hours of voting. Right wingers incited to turn out by Bibi’s race baiting?

  80. 80
    WereBear says:

    All sport comes with risks, but not every sport has injury as an unavoidable part of the game.

    Injuries should not be deliberate.

  81. 81
    sharl says:

    @Dupe70: I first saw this on twitter, but that Deadspin post you linked hammers Florio with a righteous effectiveness that twitter’s limited capabilities don’t permit.
    Thanks.

  82. 82
    Brachiator says:

    @Laertes:

    I think science is going to kill football all by itself, with or without any assists from the government.

    Government currently assists football. Wouldn’t taking that assistance away accelerate change?

    There is something repellent about noting that upper class and middle class kids may be more reluctant to play football, and then perhaps putting poor kids at risk for injury while we patiently wait for the sport to wither away.

    If you took away official support for high school and college programs, wouldn’t pro football evaporate?

  83. 83
    Brachiator says:

    @Germy Shoemangler:

    According to the NYTIMES, Bibi has announced his victory.

    Crap.

  84. 84
    raven says:

    @Chet: Someone make you watch it do they?

  85. 85
    Brachiator says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    You don’t think there’s a difference between dementia and bad knees or a bad back?

    There are football players and other athletes without serious head injuries who end up with much more than bad knees or a bad back.

    You know this. I’m just asking what degree of career or post career injury should be allowed in the name of entertainment? I noted that I would have no problem at all if boxing, football and mixed martial arts disappeared tomorrow (or even later this evening). But I’m curious as to whether you think that there should be a threshold for serious injury that should make a sport or entertainment activity illegal?

  86. 86
    jl says:

    @Tommy: Not everything. First harvest of each crop, from what I understand. Not sure how he defines ‘first harvesst’. Even with a history of fat NFL contracts, he can’t run a thousand acre farm and give everything away for long.

  87. 87
    scav says:

    Bibi can annouce whatever he feels like to whomever he thinks will broadcast it — there’s still the long road backstage to check out the exit polls and then the actual polling results. Post Wobbly-Cobbly-Coalition, He’ll also no doubt announce this as a crushing mandate. Playbook, playbook seems well-thumbed.

  88. 88
    D58826 says:

    @scav: Well if we still have Bibi to kick around I think the US should start off by doing two things. 1. No post-election congratulations. Totally ignore it. Yes it is a BIG snub. but whats good for the goose and all of that. 2. Maybe there will be enough political momentum in this country to start re-ordering our relationship with Israel. Sure Israel will still be our main ally but that doesn’t mean that we have to blindly follow them over every cliff. Abstain on a few Security council resolutions for example. Would not be the first time the US has slapped down an ally. Ike did it to Britain and France in the 1956 war over the Suez canal.

  89. 89
    scav says:

    @D58826: I’d certainly be fine with that. Bibi was worried about outside interference in internal politics? Non-intervention 100% including funding et cetra et cetera will no doubt be a most welcome development to him.

  90. 90
    Fair Economist says:

    Borland was a linebacker. Linebackers don’t have a risk of serious injury, they face the certainty of it. Their life expectancy is reduced by about 20 years and they generally face a plethora of physical and mental problems well before the end.

  91. 91
    Dupe70 says:

    @Wally Ballou: Heh. I find myself watching less and less NFL and even MLB. Luckily, I still have the NBA playoffs to look forward to.

  92. 92
    mdblanche says:

    @scav: It doesn’t sound like Herzog is declaring victory but it sounds even less like he’s conceding defeat.

  93. 93
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Brachiator: In any sport you might trip, land on your head and be paralyzed for ever. That might happen to you while walking for that matter. Football is based on pounding your head into another player’s head repeatedly which has been shown to cause CTE. The only way to avoid that is dumb luck.

    If a sport results in mental health problems as a result of playing the sport exactly as it is intended is a sport that should fail and should not be supported by the government at any level. Should it be illegal? It’s not going to be, so why argue that? Cut off funding and the industry will collapse.

  94. 94
    scav says:

    @mdblanche: Guard liveblog certainly gives the impression that things are very wobbly and tied, especially with minor parties bouncing about the level where they either get or fail to get seats, which really bounces the coalition playing field. And didn’t I read that the full results won’t be out for about a week?

  95. 95
    Brachiator says:

    @D58826:

    Well if we still have Bibi to kick around I think the US should start off by doing two things. 1. No post-election congratulations. Totally ignore it. Yes it is a BIG snub. but whats good for the goose and all of that. 2. Maybe there will be enough political momentum in this country to start re-ordering our relationship with Israel.

    The US is not going to snub Israel, nor should it. And what sadly may happen here is that the GOP will continue to assert an increasingly dangerous independent shadow foreign policy to spite the White House.

  96. 96
    Brachiator says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    In any sport you might trip, land on your head and be paralyzed for ever.

    The brother of my college roommate was paralyzed because of a wrestling accident. The impact on his family was devastating, but fortunately this person was able to deal with this horrible injury with amazing resilience. You could not have known this, but I very much know the difference between a freak accident and what is a common occurrence with respect to sports injuries.

    We really don’t have much disagreement about football, and maybe even boxing and mixed martial arts.

    But again, there are a number of sports and activities where serious, crippling and debilitating injuries are regular and “normal” outcomes. Are you willing to go after these as hard as you want to go after football?

  97. 97
    D58826 says:

    @Brachiator:What I’m suggesting is the US snub Bibi. If the White House wants to make a generic statement about free elections in the middle east and Israel then have at it. As far as the GOP, they will do what they gotta do – it’s their nature. They will blame Obama for any power outages tonight due to the G4 (out of G5) solar storm so I don’t think Obama should pay them a lot of attention.

  98. 98
    Brachiator says:

    @D58826: I don’t see much point in Obama snubbing Bibi. And while I would like to agree that Obama shouldn’t pay the GOP much attention, he has to consider the impact of their BS on a number of areas, from the nation to the prospects of the Democrats in future elections.

    Crap. I’m looking at a news story about the Israel elections. Bibi and Hezog in a near dead heat?

  99. 99
    Heliopause says:

    Beyond or before that, tip the hat to a young man with a strong sense of priorities and the intestinal fortitude to act on them.

    Chris Borland seems to have come from a privileged background. Quitting football was a relatively easy decision for him. Many players don’t come from that background and need the money. It might have been a good idea to ascertain this information before declaring Borland has more smarts and guts than everybody else.

  100. 100
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Chet: So watch boxing. Yawn.

    @Heliopause: Totally agreed. However, given the inequality today the preferences of elites are pretty influential. He’s one rock but the avalanche is on the move.

    And speaking of boxing, it’s the doldrums. I think it’s premise unproven that there is a heavy demand for blood sport that will support a talented athletebase to keep a professional league viable.

  101. 101
    jl says:

    @D58826: Obama has done pretty well by letting frenemies who show a talent for damaging themselves go right on ahead and damage themselves with no help at all. So, why not keep on with that approach?

    But on other hand, does anyone know if there is a reason to send any congratulations at all yet? Israel is a parliamentary and very multi-party democracy, right? Netanyahu is BSing about his great victory to build cred if he gets first chance to form a government. The same news that has Netanyahu braying about his great victory also report at very tight race, with two big parties gaining while little reactionary right wing nutjob parties losing (Edit:maybe Netanyahu had to swing too hard to vicious racist warmonger right to save his ass?). Hard to see what kind of government will form yet.

    What is to congratulate at this point?

  102. 102
    Misterpuff says:

    @Chet: The Ultimate Football League. In the Octagon….

  103. 103
    Ruckus says:

    There are many dangerous sports in which people end up in wheel chairs or outright die. Few have direct debilitation of the opposing player/team as a means to the end. Professional boxing and American football are two that come to mind. Both have long term health issues with a large percentage of the participants. What other sports can say that? Rugby?
    I take the man at his word, it isn’t worth it to him to participate. Yes he may be well off, but how many well off people don’t want more money? Of course that doesn’t make it better for those whose way in the world has few paths, professional sports being one that can have the largest paycheck.

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