One of the big concerns I had yesterday as football fans everywhere mourned the death of Junior Seau was that it was immediately going to fuel the concussion storyline that has been building. The concussion storyline is an important one that has been on the back burner or ignored for too long. Players have been acting like gladiators, needlessly risking their health for the adulation of fans and profit of owners and coaches. It is a systemic problem in which every NFL stakeholder is involved. Coaches have historically preached toughness and playing through pain. Players have looked down on their peers for not doing so. NFL fans (probably this one included) have mocked players like Jay Cutler or LaDainian Tomlinson most recently, for not playing in big games due to injury. As someone who cares about the issue, the immediate speculation and conclusions being drawn around Junior Seau’s death were a concern to me. I know I can’t control the storyline, but I just didn’t think it would help anyone if this issue had a sudden face and potentially a self-created martyr.
What’s so bad about having a martyr if it leads to overwhelming good for everyone via awareness? This is where it gets tricky. As of yesterday, nobody really knew why Junior Seau committed suicide. In fact, as the investigation was presumed to be a suicide, even that wasn’t 100% conclusive. Yet all over the place, I saw people talking about how scary the concussion situation is and how fans might fear for the next generation of retired players because of Seau’s death. I just want to slow the entire thing down so we have a little bit of time to gain perspective not just on the concussion issue, but also suicide. [Read more...]