Say What?

Jerry Jones, Bruce Arians, Jim Irsay in CTE Denial

In the spirit of Big Tobacco, some NFL voices are disputing the overwhelming evidence that links the game of football to brain injury. “Not all those, I think, statistics, can prove anything,” Bruce Arians told Sports Illustrated.  The Arizona Cardinals’ coach said football  “teaches more values than any other game you can play,” and that “people who say ‘I won’t let my son play’ are fools. . . . You have things that happen in life that aren’t going to be good.  If you play football, you know how to handle them.  That doesn’t necessarily equate in track and other things.”  Arians is in the same camp as Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who said “it’s absurd” to blame CTE on football: “There’s no data that in any way creates a knowledge. . . .  Medicine is evolving.  I grew up being told that aspirin was not good.  I’m told that one a day is good for you.”  Not content to leave bad enough alone, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay pounced on the aspirin analogy: “You take an aspirin, I take an aspirin.  It might give you extreme side effects of illness, and your body may reject it, where I would be fine.  So there is so much we don’t know.”

Between the Lines: Jones implies that getting hit in the head may turn out to be good for you.  Arians agrees; it may teach you to become resilient.  Irsay suggests concussion strikes randomly at those who are unlucky.  Lots of insight here.


Brains losing value: NFL settlement worth $62K per player

In a much-publicized lawsuit settlement a year ago, the NFL agreed to pay their retirees with concussion symptoms an average of about $190,000.  The NFL also set aside $500 million for future claims.  In the months since the resolution of that District Court case, autopsies have indicated a much higher rate of concussion among football players than was previously anticipated.  The players’ union says about 8,000 of its members will be filing claims on the designated funds, which will come to about $62,500 per player.

Between the Lines: The players’ legal position is strengthened by recent medical research.  But there’s also the question of assumed risk.  Concussion is receiving so much media glare that a football player cannot claim to be shocked if his brain gets bruised by all the blocking and tackling.


Rodgers says he saw UFO in New Jersey

Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, in a guest appearance on a podcast called “You Made It Weird,” said he and a former teammate at the U of California, Steve Levy, saw an Unidentified Flying Object during a trip to New Jersey in 2005.  “It was a large orange, left-to-right-moving object,” Rodgers said.  “It was me, Steve and his brother who saw it.  And it goes out of sight and we look at each other and go, ‘What the bleep was that?”

Between the Lines: The large orange object moving left to right was apparently not Donald Trump.


Lakers’ top pick Russell secretly videotaped a teammate

D’Angelo Russell, rookie point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, is being ostracized by teammates after he distributed a videotape of a surreptitiously recorded conversation he had with his backcourt buddy Nick Young.  The conversation covered, among other topics, Young’s intimate relationships with multiple women besides his fiancée, pop star Iggy Azalea — disclosures that, needless to say, would cause discomfort if they made their way onto Twitter, as these did.  Kiss-and-Tell, which has rarely been a successful behavioral strategy, is far riskier in a day when any cellphone can be a tool of extortion.  Word from the Laker entourage is that this was a prank gone awry – the No. 2 player chosen in last year’s draft, putting the self-styled Swaggy P in his place.  But the players are holding Russell, 20, accountable, shunning him off the court.  In subsequent games at Staples Center the tensions were apparent on the court as well, with fans booing whenever Russell touched the ball.

Bottom Line: The Lakers are worse than ever.  Enjoy your Long Goodbye, Kobe.


Golic: LeBron ‘is like Batman, never seems happy’

LeBron James caused consternation in Cleveland when he revealed his hope of someday playing on a team with his three closest friends, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul, who are playing for teams in Miami, New York and LA.  Clevelanders were hoping he would be more interested in playing with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, his current teammates.  ESPN’s Mike Golic said, ‘LeBron James is like Batman, never seems happy.’


Brewers’ Smith tears knee ligament taking off a shoe

Milwaukee Brewers star relief pitcher Will Smith suffered the most bizarre injury of spring training when he tore a knee ligament while changing clothes.  As he described it to The Milwaukee Journal: “I was standing on one leg, trying to take the shoe off, and I pulled hard and it stayed on.  My knee just went up and popped.”

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