The NFL Cares: NFL Concussion Controversy Leaves Us Dizzy

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NFL Concussion Controversy: The buzz is not good.

HOLLYWOOD, CA – Like most of you, I love professional football. But sometimes the NFL really makes it hard. It can be little things, like my beloved Steelers deciding that all of their prime time games this year will apparently be played in Hamburglar-meets-Bumblebeecostumes.

Strzelczyk

And it can be bigger things, like the way the NFL has chosen to put a pretty bow on the fact that for decades they didn’t give a crap about concussions turning its ex-players into dangerously sociopathic, self-destructive man-children. I say this as a Steeler fan, a franchise you don’t have to like to at least appreciate as one of the most upstanding in all of professional sports… a franchise that has just this year launched a concussion awareness program aimed at youth football players – the first to do so.

However, it’s also the franchise of numerous, ugly concussion-related stories. From Jason Strzelczyk to Terry Long to of course, Iron Mike Webster. Back to Jason Strzelczyk for a second. Click this, and scroll down to “Death.” Read that. Then consider that just the other night, Ryan Clark tried to down-play the many concussions he’s suffered while Isaac Redman had to leave the game after “getting his bell rung.”

With the number of players losing time to concussions already in the dozens this season , the league has tried countering with their own spin. They’re running a commercial featuring a lovely, concerned mother taking time out of watering her plants to break down a fourth wall with poster boy Tom Brady, expressing her concerns over her son playing football. “It’s a great game,” he says, and he means it. So far he’s avoided football’s version of The Big C, as far as we know anyway, but it’s awfully suspicious how he’s writing “All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy” over and over again on his pad of paper. Tom just has to look handsome, say “We’re doing a lot,” and complete the easiest pass of his life to NFL Vice President Carl Johnson who, when he isn’t levying fines for muddily defined illegal hits, apparently only types on one half of his keyboard. Seriously, watch him in this, would the rules be clearer if he used the whole thing? He’s only on screen for a whole two seconds before, without introduction, a man in a lab coat stands in a room with white helmets adorned with targets, and talks about all the money the NFL is going to spend  – added to the millions they apparently paid under the table to players suffering from early onset dementia. They did this while denying that there was a link to Congress and everyone else.

The nice lady is comforted by the actor in the lab coat, and why shouldn’t she be? She’s a hired actress too…which is wierd, because she then alludes that her son, “the little guy,” is actually Ray Lewis. “Cute kid,” says Brady, and it’s funny, see, because Ray Lewis is a man who has in fact given a lot of concussions in his career. He’s been fined to the tune of tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars by the Carl Johnsons in the league office, and has not been quiet about it. His sneer nullifies everything we’ve just been told, and reassures us that it’s a bloodsport and that’s what we like about it. So don’t worry, actress playing Ray Lewis’s mother, your pretend-son is going to be just fine. The NFL cares plenty… they said so.

That’s my story. Tune in tomorrow for a man that has left us all dizzy with hit wit, Angry Ward.

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About the Author ()

West Coast Craig reports from Hollywood with an endearingly laid back style. A happily married father of two little boys, WCC has an avocado tree in his yard, plays the hot corner in a "Valley" hardball league and always manages to take cool sports-related mini road-trips, often with his immediate clan. He hails from Oneonta, NY but has been "So very L.A." for twenty years, so his sports teams are the Yankees AND the Dodgers, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the L.A. Lakers and the Colorado Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques. WCC loves bacon-wrapped hotdogs and can touch his heel and his ear... with his hand.
  • Big Blue 56

    Brady is looking more and more like a doofus and douche every day.

  • bosoxbruins84

    The concussion thing can’t go away. It’s a contact sport. Everybody that plays knows the risk. But they should have had someone like Troy Aikman in an ad.

    • WestCoastCraig

      I’m right with you, bb, it’s the completely transparent hypocrisy of the commercial that’s so maddening.

  • Doc Diz

    I wonder how many of my rugby mates, who played for years just for glory and grit, are in the same boat. I saw many get their bell rung, and I’m sure looking back that more than one got concussed. I am not too sure how you can eliminate that factor from contact sports…concussions are a problem in hockey also.

    • david

      rugbyis a niche sport, like hockey

      • jgclancy

        What’s rugby?

        • Cam_James

          I think its an old wooden ship.

          • Dude

            there are three sports: football, baseball and basketball… let’s keep to those. thanks.

    • WestCoastCraig

      Seriously…I wonder what the statistics are on professional rugby players. There’s the school of thought that the newer, “safer” equipment in football has actually led to more injuries because players feel invincible.

  • Dude

    i caught some of that steeler game from the the corner of my eye and it looked like they were wearing no pants at all.

    • WestCoastCraig

      Garish tops aside, I do really dig the socks.

  • Johnny Rox

    Every time I see those Steeler uni’s it reminds me of that John Belushi/Sat Night Live skit about buzz in’ off!!! Those are the ugliest uniforms in all of sports history!!!

    Change the equipment, NOT THE RULES! Cars use to be made out of hard steel! In an accident the contents inside, the people, would absorb all the force of the impact! Now cars are made of energy absorbing material that is designed to absorb some of the impact! Not perfect, but MUCH better!!!

    Softer exterior helmets would help significantly!!! Lets go NFL, make it happen!

    Go Jets!

    J…

    • WestCoastCraig

      airbags in each helmet? I like it!

      • AngryWard

        Let’s just return to leather helmets and be done with it. In all seriousness though, I agree with those who feel the NFL is in real trouble with this class action lawsuit by former players. Bosoxbruins is right to bring up Aikman too. Seemed like he had like 10 concussions, at least, in his career. Would it be any shock to see him show up in the booth one day with no pants on spouting profanities?

        • http://twitter.com/JunoirBlaber Junoir Blaber

          And professing his manlove for Jason Garret!

  • http://rugbywrapup.com/ RugbyWrapUp

    Okay… We had some experience with this issue and will likely pay the consequences for it either with Alzheimer’s or dementia or something else. Yet, we still continue to play rugby and ice hockey. Why? Because it’s fun. We know the risk. We’re told over and over about the risk. And yet we still go out there. Does it make sense? No. But it makes you feel alive. And as George Bernard Shaw said, “We don’t stop playing because we get old, we get old because we stop playing.” With that, we’d like to cordially invite you to one of NYC’s best parties, The Annual NY Rugby 7s Tournament on Randall’s Island. 130+ teams will converge, including “The Hoffs” – team from Canada that wear David Hasselhoff wigs while they play. Short Matt’s NYRC Old Starz are in the Social Division and kickoff their 1st of a guaranteed 3 matches at 9:20 AM on the Red field. He’ll be wearing one of those soft caps. Here’s are the pertinent links

    The Skinny: http://newyorkrugbysevens.com/

    The Schedule: http://newyorkrugbysevens.com/2012/11/2012-ny-7s-tournament-schedule/

    The Party: Connelly’s on 43rd? off Vanderbilt. 8PM Fun time.

    • http://rugbywrapup.com/ RugbyWrapUp

      P.s… Here’s a post-tourney photo of last years NYRC Old Starz… The smiles speak to why we play.

    • http://meetthematts.com/ Meet The Matts

      Sorry for being late to the party today, we were out walking our refrigerator. Some kind soul saw our address pinned to our lapel and brought us home… Anyway, guilty as charged; double digit concussions here. But nobody put a gun to our head after the first one and nobody put a gun to any NFL player’s head and said, “You vill play zee football. Schnell!!” The difference is, the info is out there now… But even before the intel became available, when you get knocked into next week, you fully understand that it can’t be a good thing… But playing is like a drug. There are very few feeling that equate to walking off a rugby pitch under your own power, specifically after a win. The same for football and hockey. And that’s not just reserved for men these days. Look at the schedule for the NY 7s tournament. It’s chock full of women’s teams. And we all play for free. Imagine that… Anyway, here’s another one of those rare photos that has both Johnathan Wicklow Barberie of RugbyWrapUp.com and Short Matt (with Charles Linbergh’s pilot cap)…

      • You Suck

        You only get concussions because you suck.

  • http://twitter.com/JunoirBlaber Junoir Blaber

    It took them so long to give a damn. It is only because we are now in a world where information comes out to fast and too much to be covered-up that they are in this position.

  • http://ThePublicProfessor.com The Public Professor

    I think we, as a nation, need to admit that those are the best uniforms ever. EVER

    • Grote2Dmax

      EVER.

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