Life in the NFL Seems All Fun and Games But For Some There Are Consequences. And By The Fall, It’s All Back to Football
Suicide, unlike words to the theme song to M*A*S*H says, is not painless. Perhaps it is for the person, but not for those around the person. Junior Seau taking his own life has not just those in sports asking questions, but everyone in society who knows his name. His family, friends and the NFL community are shaking their heads. Why? How could this happen, especially to a guy who seemed so happy and content?
The initial questions are swirling around dementia, the post-concussion syndrome that former Chicago Bears safety Dave Duerson blamed for his suicide a year ago.
Former Atlanta Falcons player Ray Easterling (last month) and former Philadelphia Eagle Andre Waters (2006) are also recent NFL suicides.
It’s enough for players and the league to stand up and take notice, and in fact more than 1,500 players and 100 former players have filed suit against the NFL for neurological damage. At the very least, it brings into the public’s eye the dark side of being a professional athlete in the NFL.
About all the fans see of the players are the touchdowns, the sacks or hard hits (in Seau’s case). In other words, the on-field glory. (As well as too much showboating, especially among receivers.)
Off the field, it’s the multi million-dollar contracts, commercials, golf tournaments, hanging out with celebrities at Hollywood parties and marrying supermodels.
We don’t see the arthritis, the pain in the joints, the emotional struggles of retirement. And few people can see the mental effects of the concussions and all the hits to the head.
That’s something to think about here in the off-season. But how may fans, media and even players will pay attention to it when fall football training camps open and the season starts in September? It’s likely all the attention will be back on the field.