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NFL Player Safety After Gronkowski Injury

Credit, Jim Rogash – Getty Images

I can’t imagine a life without memory.  Without being able to recall the names of my family members.  Without remembering what gifts they got me last Christmas, or the looks on their faces when they opened the ones I gave them.  

I can’t imagine a life with chronic, debilitating headaches, or with wild, unpredictable mood swings – with unexpected fits of fury and violence.

And I can’t imagine such a desperate need for escape that a permanent, self-inflicted one is an option to be considered.

I can’t because I don’t want to – because the horror of such a reality is entirely too frightening to confront, even if for just a moment before returning to my happy, thankfully care-free existence.

I can’t stomach imagining it, and others live it everyday – including too many former players of America’s greatest game, their minds ravaged by a disease brought on by the punishment they sustained for our entertainment.

It’s why I’ve always supported, and will continue to support, the NFL and their efforts to make their game safer.  It’s why I don’t watch T.J. Ward dive at Rob Gronkowski’s knee – tearing the tight end’s ACL and MCL and ending his season – and see the effect of an evil, ill-intentioned NFL.  It’s why I, instead, see the play as the unfortunate yet decidedly lesser of two evils.

Yes, the NFL is dangerous.  Yes, its players risk injury whenever they step onto the field.  Yes, in today’s game, that risk is well known.  But does knowledge of a risk make it acceptable?  Can any price be paid as long as it was known about up-front?

In my opinion?  No.

The Roman Empire fell centuries ago.  The Colosseum has long been reduced to little more than a tourist attraction.  Surely in the time since both were left in ruin, we as a people have learned that there is a limit to what should be sacrificed in the name of public entertainment.

Rob Gronkowski’s knee is in tatters today. But his long term health may well be intact.  And while the reality of his season’s end is lamentable, it’s not the tragedy.  The tragedy from which every player must be protected is what a hit to the head could have caused.

Armen Williams, heard weekdays from 1-3, and I discussed this very topic, reacting to our own Joe Calderone, heard weekdays from 3-7, whose opinion differs from ours. Listen to the discussion here:

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