NFL players do make the choice going in, knowing full well that permanent
injuries of all kinds are distinct possibilities. The public (and many people on
these threads) are fine with that as long as their entertainment needs are met
and they get a little crabby if the "millionaires" (as if they are all
millionaires)-complain that they were kept in the dark about the dangers of head
injuries (which--it has been absolutely proven the NFL knew about and kept
hidden) League of Denial-Frontline. Third point is that many NFL players see
this life as their only option for education (while in college) and earning a
living. This is sort of like the slave complaining that his master is cruel and
neighbors looking on and saying "Well, you had to be aware that whipping was
a distinct possibility if you complained about the conditions. Nobody dragged
you here from Africa!"
The only difference between football games and Christians getting thrown to the
lions is that the football players are better paid. When we pretend
that we're cheering the skill of "our" team as we watch the players
of the "other" team get hurt, it says something about us. As somebody
who sees no fun in football, I'm struck at how many "fans" are
saying that it's the players' fault. Do you really think this bone
crushing sport would be the way it is without the fans who shelled out the bucks
to see them?
1) Players sued the NFL because there were no full disclosure of potential
injuries.2) Can owners (who paid players' salaries) and fans
(who paid for tickets) sue the players because they did not disclose that
they may have attitudes, drug habits, etc that may affect their
performance on the field?3) Who can I sue if I am stupid not to
realize that there are risks associated with almost all financial benefits
in life? My parents? My teachers?
So essentially we need to treat these athletes like the race horses they are,
don't give them any choice about playing or not playing, the management
needs to make all decisions for them or the management is held responsible.
I'm OK with that concept. Most of those that make it to the pros are
catered to throughout high school and coddled through their college experience,
so why not just continue the treatment at the pro level. And when they are no
longer useful to the organization they need to be put out to stud, so we can get
the next set of gladiators to entertain the masses.
Jim is 50 something. I fear what is going to happen in ten years as far as his
dementia. My father in law suffered for years with dementia and it is as
degrading a disease as it gets. It takes all of your dignity and leaves you in a
fog. Very sad. Hopefully this law suit will provide some funds for help. The
other broken bones and things he suffered is just evidence of the brutality of
the game. EVen Bret Farve is suffering although not like Jim. Farve is product
of modern NFL while Jim is a sad product of 20+ years ago when things were much
worse. I see these line backers today at 6'3" 260lbs and running
4'6 40. Geez this is like getting hit by a truck! I fear the NFL has
crossed the line into being too brutal now and there are going to have to be
rule changes in big ways otherwise the value of the game is going to degrade
@ kranny, I agree. I'm doing my part.
I remember watching Jim on the sidelines during the Bears magical season. I
watched him, literally bash his bare head (no pun intended) against a teammates
and thought that it might have been the most masochistic thing I've ever
seen an athlete do. My point is that there is a middle ground here and it
involves choice and what an athlete, their agents and their parents should know
as compared to what they can't be reasonably expected to know. No one in
the world can tell me that Jim didn't know he was doing damage to his head
when he head butted a teammate and the same thing can be said about playing
after having sustained a head injury. Every boxer knows the risk and really, so
does every athlete who plays a sport where concussions are commonplace. The
trouble for the NFL and NCAA football is not in these lawsuits, it is in the
fact that MOTHERS are also starting to know it very well. I wish Jim all the
luck in the world and I'm truly happy he's finding relief in therapy.
I used to live in Utah and spent countless hours skiing the moguls up at
Snowbird and Alta. Now I have back pain an bad knees.I guess this
means I can sue those ski resorts for providing me with a fun way to trash my
body. And they didn't pay me to go there either.I wish Jim the
best. But he chose to play the game.
How can any reasonable person expect all coaches to know when a player's
neck vertebrae might be cracked, unless the player tells him they suspect
something's wrong. Then the coach assumes some responsibility to follow up
with further examinations.There's no indication in this article
that McMahon ever told coaches about or even suspected his own neck had
sustained any breakage. So how could or would his coach know? He wouldn't,
nor could he reasonably be expected to.As someone else mentioned, it
would be virtually impossible to take x-rays each time a player takes a hard hit
just to be on the safe side. That's not even remotely possible during a
game. Besides, most players would then be exposed to enough x-ray radiation to
fry them. There are assumed risks when playing the game of football.
Players are aware of them. To now pretend like they didn't know, after
their playing days are over and the game rewarded them very well, seems pretty
questionable.Had all this happened while playing during their high
school years, this case would have more merit. These grown men weren't
oblivious to what was happening.
@ DonO and Ronald U.:Coaches and teams can't x-ray and take
MRIs after each solid hit a player takes. There's no way they always tell
if a player might have a small crack in a neck or back vertebrae. Even McMahon
didn't and still doesn't know with certainty when he got his neck
injury. He's only guessing at this point. One thing is certain. He went
decades afterwards before finding out about the injury. That being
said, how can a coach be expected to know the extent of each injury a player has
during the middle of a game? He can't. He relies on players to tell him how
they feel and whether apparent injuries feel bad enough not to re-enter a game.
Sometimes a player may feel pressure to go back in (I would too if I was being
paid multi-millions to play), but no one actually forces them to. A
player has to assume some responsibility for his own well-being. It's his
body and no one else can know exactly how he feels after each play. That has to
be communicated by players. Usually it's not.
@ hadtosayit:It's a bit hard to feel sorry for a guy who has
made tens of millions of dollars, enjoyed the hight of his chosen occupation,
partied like a wild animal for decades, then wants sympathy from others. Every college and pro football player totally understands that football
is a violent sport. They know exactly what kind of hits are made on players.
They understand it multiple times better than their lawyers and agents. But they chose to take those risks and play anyway. They are always
given the best equipment available. QB's wear flack jackets and have extra
rules protecting them. They are never forced to play at any given time. If they
feel injured enough not to be able to play, no one physically forces them back
onto the field. It's always have to concur. It's a
high-risk, high-reward occupation. One that is conscientiously chosen by each
player who plays. Most of those who are now suing are players who mismanaged
their money and are looking for one last bailout... Jim included. He lived the
fast life and partied a lot even after his playing days. Now he's basically
@Betcha"I remember watching Jim play , not only at BYU but also in the
pro's..."I think I remember watching Jim play. Not sure,
though - I will need to go back through my notes - if I can find where I put
Why all the cruel comments? Jim's playing brought joy to a lot a people,
and players back in the day just didn't have the knowledge (about brain
injury) that we do now. He may have made millions, but I doubt any one of us
would trade places with him now. The man is facing some serious struggles; throw
a little compassion his way.
Football does get pretty violent and a lot of times those hits are to take them
out of the game. It is an adjustment to watch baseball now where the catcher
can't block home base, but they are making it work. They are going to have
to do this in hockey also. As fans, players, coaches and owners, we need to put
the value of the players safety ahead of the game.
Yes/NoWe make life choices. We know the risk when we make those
choices. That is the yes.If we are injured with a broken neck or
concussions etc, we must be told that we have a broken neck or a concussion etc.
It has to be the responsibility of the coach and the team management not to let
that player continue to play with that broken neck or concussion. That is the
no.Even in college football when we knowing allow a player to
continue playing when we know that his neck is broken, or he has a concussion,
leaves the door open for a law suit in years to come.
I wonder what effect all the boozing has on players' brains. Does causality
exist with early onset dementia? How about steroid use? I'm not making any
specific accusations, only raising the question in general.
Lets break out the video footage of McMahon head bumping his teammates without a
helmet on. He took great pride in this and was intent on showing how tough he
was. Any good attorney can pull out these videos and see that he did this to
himself and not as part of the game.
So, let me see if I understand this correctly. An athlete CHOOSES to play a game
for 12 - 14 yrs, gets paid millions of dollars to do so, and now they wants more
millions to pay for their medical expenses - for a game they CHOSE to play.
Sounds like they needed to put aside some of those funds during the time they
were playing to pay for medical later on. Can't really feel too sorry for
True that athletes choose to play the game. But as Jim points out, pro football
is a huge business. And like any other business, management has a responsibility
to its employees. Abusing employees to help the bottom line is not allowed in
other businesses and should not be tolerated in football.
I remember watching Jim play , not only at BYU but also in the pro's, he
was very arrogant, I don't think you could have kept him off the field, he
was the wild man, And I think today, we are seeing more and more of this, in
order for these men to make the BIG BUCKS, they have to play the hardest, and
the longest. So your right, they choose to play, even when they know their
hurt... It is not the fault of any organization, it is the consequence of
I feel for Jim, but I also agree with others here that he made the choice to
play football. He enjoyed many benefits from his playing days and beyond. I also
know of others who (in their fifties) are suffering from the same or different
ailments because of age not because of a football career. We all are faced with
one fact: the choices we make determine the life we live.
Esquire--The only ones who can change the value, status of the games are the
fans who support sports.
@kranny you are right on. There was no gun to his head. You play you pay.
"Spinal fluid cooling in the brain brought on by a rotation in his vertebrae
was causing the headaches."Spinal fluid isn't like magma. I
suspect it is pooling in his head, not cooling. Proofreaders?
I do feel sad for Jim and the others...however, THEY choose...THEIR AGENTS
obtained contracts for them and they decided to be employed by the NFL. They
made a life choice. Just like the rest of us. If we smoke, we have made a life
choice, it will cause issues. If we drive a long haul truck....we have the
chance to fall asleep at the wheel. If your agent obtains a contract that pays
you MILLIONS to catch or throw a pigskin or block for them or whatever else, it
is YOU that choose to SIGN that contract. DO NOT BLAME OTHERS. Take some
PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for the choice. He was free to flip burgers or sell
cars or other things. It is not the NFL's Fault...it is not BYU's
fault...it is not the Pop Warner's fault...it is HIS FAULT or his PARENTS
that told him he could play football.
I wonder how many of these awful symptoms will self cure once the check for
millions is cashed? It is amazing what touching the ink and paper on $100 bills
will do for your health.
Football has become too violent and Jim is a sad reminder.
Sadly, even with the horror stories Jim tells that are likely 50-100 thousand
men his age that would still trade places with him; to have the opportunities
and game that he had seems worth it to them. I am on the fence, I am not sure
that I would or wouldn't trade my life challenges for his. That is the
crazy world we all live in.
@ kranny, point taken, but maybe we need to make full disclosures to players,
put a higher value on their health and safety, and lower the status of football
somehow. Just a thought....
Jim was fun to watch play the game. But, who made him play?
Wonder how long until lawsuits will be brought against players' colleges.
There's nothing magically exempt about college concussive blows to the