Friday, February 25, 2011

Forget Concussion Law: Ban Tackle Football from Schools

The Sport Iconoclast

Smacking fantasy of athletics

By Matt Chaney

What is the National Football League up to?

Whom do NFL yaks think they are, pushing the 50 states and District of Columbia to burden schools with fresh bureaucracy and expense by passing youth concussion laws that offer minimal protection while raising legal stakes?

A phat-assed, billion-dollar entertainment conglomerate dictates need for vital, cash-strapped public education?

NFL yaks in their glass tower still don’t get everyday America. They should grasp current news besides droning sports trivia, like several states’ succumbing to bankruptcy while all scrape to fund education, police and fire protection, water and sewer, and roads and bridges, among our necessities suffering shortfall.

The ongoing protest by thousands of teachers and public workers in Wisconsin, for example? NFL yaks only perceive their fabled Packers franchise in that state.

Rampant unemployment? The NFL boasts it provides jobs for everyday folk, beyond elite athletes and its overpaid, well-connected coaches and administrators.


Commissioner Roger Goodell is out of it for realism, despite his showy offer to work for $1 if his boss hogs, NFL owners, lock out the players next week over stalemate in collective bargaining.

Dollar Roger should tend his own grave problems, not states’ business, especially the ridiculous NFL risks for players in their immediate and long terms.

The players, after all, constitute the league’s whole product. Consumers crave only athletic feats.

Players batter brains and limbs for gladiatorial sport sold by middlemen, carnival barkers like Goodell and greedy owners. And it’s quite the plantation these parasitic men have going, fattening themselves on the blood of players and even families.

Actually though that’s it, the undercurrent driving every dog-and-pony show Dollar Roger orchestrates at moment, from toothless law and in-house “research” to invalid “concussion testing” and absurd “behavior modification” of players.

The NFL merely seeks to shepherd tackle football through injury crisis, sustaining the bloated system as-is, down to school programs and insane youth leagues.

The league wants football to remain largely publicly funded while costing us billions more in medical and insurance coverage for annual casualties, the vast majority always kids. Thousands of players are maimed along with football deaths, which were at least a dozen in 2010—supposedly the year of “culture change” and “safer” football, to hear it from NFL officials and associate “experts.”

The NFL doesn’t really give a damn about anyone’s physical and mental health, child or adult.

ts puffy law proposal, mandating a concussed player be sidelined until cleared by a doctor or lesser technician, along with requiring paperwork and courses for school personnel, amounts to gutter med ethic only effective in elevating costs and liability for public education and individuals.

A freaking rock would understand the Goodell game by now, if not a bunch of lap-dog politicians. In fact, NFL hack Joe Browne brazenly reveals true motive in league campaign of concussion law for everybody.

“We’re fortunate that we have 3.4 million young athletes playing football,” Browne says, noting youth leagues along with schools, “and we want to continue to keep our player source strong and keep it large.”

Perhaps every kid should play football, eh, Joe, even if lacking a decent school to attend? And the NFL has a job waiting for all? Didn’t think so.

Joe Browne, Roger Goodell and their ilk can kiss my butt as I struggle to land a job in limp economy and teaching market, qualified as I am with requisite degrees, college faculty experience and journalism portfolio. I soon start work in a restaurant kitchen, gladly.

And politicians can get real, especially those yahoos in state legislatures who go silly when an NFL suit like Browne shows up to spout BS, feigning virtue, high class and authority.

If politicians want to get serious about head injuries in football, or truly protect kids while rejecting profiteers and influence peddling, constructive steps await them.

States can mandate a three-month rest for every concussed juvenile in school and youth football, heeding the call of forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet I. Omalu, independent brain expert. It was Omalu who first linked cognitive damage to the NFL in his 2002 autopsy of Mike Webster, a Hall of Fame lineman tortured by dementia and drug abuse before death at age 50, leaving his family destitute.

Many independent researchers and physicians back Omalu in principle, recommending a concussed player of any age should not resume football for at least one to three months. Supporters include Dr. Randall Benson, Wayne State University, researcher of functional MRI for brain injury in athletes, and Dr. Lester Mayers, concussion analyst and director of sports medicine at Pace University.

Even better, politicians could take initiative now on the inevitable for tackle football in litigious America.

Lawmakers should ban the sport at public schools, relieving education of responsibility for violent football headed the way once of boxing—to privatization.

Matt Chaney is a journalist, publisher, teacher and restaurant worker in Missouri, USA. Email him at For more information, including about his 2009 book, Spiral of Denial: Muscle Doping in American Football, visit

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