(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.


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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Congress, the NFL, Head Injuries and the Antitrust Exemption

All of these came up at a Congressional hearing, with one lawmaker threatening to have the NFL's antitrust exemption revoked.

You just cannot make up some of this stuff.

Look, the issue of head injuries is serious. The Players' Association's leadership would be failing its membership if it didn't advocate for more resources and attention to this issue. You're not only talking about players' livelihoods, you're also talking about life after football -- which begins for many in the mid-20's and shouldn't render some former players disabled or with serious brain damage. I get all that.

What I don't get is where certain members of Congress get off using their positions to bully and threaten. What they should do -- assuming the expenditure of time on this particular issue is warranted given all of th other problems the country has -- is to work to get all of the facts out and then press for a solution. Most assuredly, there is a public health aspect to all of this, as many young boys start playing the game as early as 6 -- we need all players to be as safe as possible. But let's not make threats on a grand scale.

I also get that the NFL's and NFLPA's track record on this issue isn't perfect. The league -- with all its money -- is a day late and many dollars short. The union doesn't seem to be focused on anything more than the here and now given how short players' careers are. Let's hope that something good can happen from a public spotlight -- that the league and union come together with a solution before an unfortunate one gets legislated for them.


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