Deion Sanders, "Neon" to his associates, has a few words for those hand-wringing crybabies who think that brain injuries are a problem in the game he used to play, professional football. "The game is a safe game, the equipment is better," Sanders said on the NFL Network set last week. "I don't buy all these guys coming back with these concussions. I'm not buying all that. Half these guys are trying to make money off the deal. That's real talk. That's really how it is. I wish they'd be honest and tell the truth because it's keeping kids away from our game." Junior Seau's kids, for example.
Junior Seau committed suicide last May. Posthumous tests determined that he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy at the time he took his own life, a condition which can bring on memory loss and depression. Ten years ago, in a in 1993's "NFL Rocks," Junior offered his opinion on the measure of
a punishing hit: "If I can feel some dizziness, I know that guy is
feeling double (that)." Junior Seau's family has sued the NFL, claiming the former
linebacker's suicide was the result of brain disease caused by violent
hits he sustained and gave out while playing football. Cutting quickly to the chase, there is no doubt that Mister Seau made some choices in his life that lead him on a path. The fact that he chose football over badminton as a career path may be chief among them. But it does make me wonder what the future of professional football will look like. Will the game evolve into less a contact sport, with more emphasis on the protection of players and their health in the years after they play the game? Will it become more like Ultimate Fighting, and find a home on basic cable? Will people stop watching?
Will people stop watching Deion? Sometimes he makes my head hurt.
I'm guessing I've got about six and a half months to figure that out for myself.