Hoops Exchange 3 – A trip to the Grid Iron

Part 3 of my Hoops Exchange series has us taking a quick detour to the NFL. With the Super Bowl approaching in a few days, I made the comment that it might be the last football I ever watch. My good friend, The Journalista asked me why. Read below to see my answer.

Lamont Peoples: Watched League of Denial on Netflix last night.  Think I’m done with the NFL after the Superbowl.

The Journalista:  What is it about, and why does it make you not want to follow the NFL anymore?

LP:  It is about the link between football and concussions and brain disease.   Researchers have examined the brains of 128 football players. 101 of those brains tested positive for a disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy.  This disease can only be identified after death. 76 of the 79 former examined NFL players tested positive for CT.

A bunch of former NFL players filed a lawsuit accusing the league of being aware of the possible link between football and brain disease.  They settled for somewhere around $650 million early last year and that settlement did not include an admission of wrongdoing by the NFL.  In fact, they’ve gone out of their way to deny or argue against the evidence that football increases the risk of brain damage.

While everyone was looking at the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson situations, the league basically admitted that playing football increases the risk of brain injury.  One third of their players will suffer from sort of brain trauma.  Nobody cared because of the Rice and Peterson scandals. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been criticized for how poorly he handled the Rice situation. I don’t want to understate how serious of an issue domestic violence is.  It most certainly is.  Nor do I want to ignore how big of a PR nightmare both cases were for the NFL and Goodell’s actions warranted all the criticism he received, especially in the Rice situation.  That being said, neither of those are the reason why I’m ready to give up on the NFL.

You know how much I love basketball and I haven’t been more than a casual fan of the NFL for I don’t how long.  I don’t have a favorite team nor do I follow football like I do the NBA. I read an op-ed piece in the LA Times from a die Oakland Raiders fan that planned to “boycott the football industrial complex.”  In it he said that the business of football on the professional and collegiate levels is to “sell controlled violence”.

Once I read that phrase it made this season hard to watch even casually.  I remember the lawsuit and League of Denial has been on my watch list for a while now.  Combine all 3 things and the NFL is probably something I can live without.


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