My Response To The Most Clueless & Offensive NFL Column Ever Written


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By Jay Kirell

 

I’ve always considered it a point of pride that I’m not the type of person prone to outrage. I enjoy discovering different viewpoints and ideas, no matter if I agree or disagree with them. Recognizing that people are going to hold different opinions than yours and being okay with that is the hallmark of a mature adult.

Being a liberal, I don’t begrudge those who promote conservative views.
Being a military veteran, I don’t take offense to those who feel America spends too much on defense.
Being a white male, I don’t reflexively gasp when people of color point out discrimination or bias.
Being Jewish, I don’t hate anti-Semites, I pity them.

In other words, you’re going to have to work really hard to get a visceral reaction out of me. Which is why I found it odd that out of the thousands of stories that scroll across my twitter feed every week, the one that prompted me to sit down and not just write – but write in anger – was a column written by a sports writer about the NFL’s concussion settlement.

Pete Prisco is the name of the columnist. He’s the senior NFL columnist for CBSsports.com and the article in question is titled “NFL Can Afford $765M Settlement, But Players Didn’t Deserve It.”

I encourage everyone to read that column before proceeding with this one, because you can’t grasp how breathtakingly short-sided it is by my description alone. I’ll brush over the trollish opening comments about him contemplating a lawsuit against his Pop Warner league. Lots of writers troll for effect and there’s no sense wasting any space on the literary diarrhea that comprises the first three paragraphs.

I’ll pick up right here, from Prisco’s own words:

I’ve spoken with a lot of current players on this matter, and while they are concerned about the dangers of head shots, one — yes one — told me they wouldn’t do it all over again. They love the game. They love the checks.
And, to me, that’s what this is all about. It’s a money grab.
Sure, there are some players who have issues related to football. I feel for them. Take care of them. But again do we know for sure it happened because of the NFL? Couldn’t a college career impact the head? High school?
Nobody makes players play the game. They want to do so. It’s like a police officer or fireman. They know the risks. They know they can get killed at any time. NFL players know they can get hurt, and have long-term issues.
How many would pass on the chance to play if they were forced to sign away any rights they would have to file suit down the road or even now? I say it would be 100-percent signing that document.

I’m going to have to break this down line-by-line here, because it’s an impressive feat of shoehorning a novel’s worth of garbage into a few paragraphs….

I’ve spoken with a lot of current players on this matter, and while they are concerned about the dangers of head shots, one — yes one — told me they wouldn’t do it all over again. They love the game. They love the checks. And, to me, that’s what this is all about. It’s a money grab.

Outside of not specifically mentioning how many players he’s spoken to on the matter (“a lot” could mean two or 200 depending on the writer’s agenda), what relevancy is the fact that players love playing football? I loved (certain aspects of) being a soldier – but when I came back broken and bruised from Afghanistan I didn’t for one second believe that the Army didn’t bear some responsibility for making sure my injuries were treated. I’ve known thousands of soldiers, and while they are proud men – sometimes to a fault – I cannot think of a single one who believes their volunteering into the military absolves the Department of Defense of any medical and financial burden.

Sure, there are some players who have issues related to football. I feel for them. Take care of them. But again do we know for sure it happened because of the NFL? Couldn’t a college career impact the head? High school?

Yes, Mr. Prisco – we know for certain it happened because of the NFL. How? Because the NFL just settled a lawsuit, in case you forgot the reason you wrote your column. Yes, a college or high school career can absolutely impact the head – but players didn’t sign an employment contract with their high school team. They didn’t spend 10, 12, 14 years butting heads on the line of scrimmage for their college team. They haven’t spent a decade in amateur football being forced back onto the field too soon after concussions.

If a college or high school career alone left players with the relative number of long-term memory and psychological issues that former NFL players have had, the sport of football itself would be outlawed. It is specifically because the NFL’s form of football is conducted with the biggest, strongest, most violent athletes on the planet that concussions occur there so frequently and with such devastating effects.

Besides, if this was just “a money grab,” as Prisco writes, why haven’t these former NFL players also sued the NCAA? Last time I checked, it wasn’t hurting for cash.

Nobody makes players play the game. They want to do so. It’s like a police officer or fireman. They know the risks. They know they can get killed at any time. NFL players know they can get hurt, and have long-term issues.

I’m sure cops and firefighters across America would be thrilled to know that if they were ever serving the public under Mayor Prisco, they can expect to tossed aside like garbage once their use to the public runs out. What, disability compensation? Death benefits? You knew the risks, bub. Tough luck. Tell your kids to build a lemonade stand or something.

How many would pass on the chance to play if they were forced to sign away any rights they would have to file suit down the road or even now? I say it would be 100-percent signing that document.

Of course you would say that, Pete, in your mind, NFL players are mindless pieces of meat to be tossed about for your entertainment. They don’t have families that worry about their long-term health. They aren’t actual human beings who recognize the NFL is a business – they’re “players.” Their sole focus must only be entertaining you on Sunday.

CBS’s writer concludes his Ayn Rand-inspired column with this gem:

The bottom line is most fans and media members act like they care about the concussion plaintiffs. And we are sympathetic to them, but the reality is we are all selfish.
Without the NFL, I wouldn’t have a job. Nor would a lot of people.

And thus, the writer’s true motives are revealed. Don’t rock the boat. Don’t ask questions. Don’t speak up. Don’t stand up. How dare the players have the nerve to interject real life problems into my stats & quotes bubble. The gall. The nerve. Don’t they know I make my living convincing people what happens on the field is the most important aspect of football?

Hey Pete, go fuck yourself. Some of us out here in the real world deal with post-concussion issues every day. Some of us as a result of our own chosen professions – professions that can entertain and give you a reason for waking up every day.

Professions that, on occasion, give you the freedoms to sit your plumpy, Press Box-buffet eating ass down and write a column so devoid of humanity, logic, compassion, and empathy Rush Limbaugh was jealous.

So in conclusion, I make the following offer to CBS Sports. I’ll take over Pete Prisco’s column for him while he goes and visits a few VA hospitals, meets with service members battling Traumatic Brain Injury, and gets a clue about who does and does not “deserve” compensation.

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