Harmon: Utah Polynesian football stars react to Junior Seau's death

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  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    May 8, 2012 5:48 p.m.

    hmth8tr: The tickt revenues from high school football don't even begin to cover the costs. Consider coaches's saleries, equipment, travel, field maintenance, etc. etc. Football is no money maker. It's the most expensive sport in high school. Most sports don't cover the costs with the exception, possibly, of basketball. The purpose of the high school sports program should not be to provide fans with some entertainment; it should be to develop the students' character. That's why intramural programs are so much better. More students get to participate for much less cost. Current high school athletics is so that super jocks can get more glory while the average kids sit it out.

  • EnglishAlan Rugeley, Staffs
    May 8, 2012 3:49 a.m.

    Interesting debate. We have a sport called Rugby League over here, and we have had a couple of recent suicides in top-ranking players. The doctors over here have put it down to coping with the loss of fame, and how it affects them. (Rugby is like your football, except we do all of the hits with no padding, no helmets, and no rest between tackles. We run for forty minutes, set for ten minutes, and then run for forty minutes again, taking hits and giving hits as we go. You can only hit the man with the ball though) In Rugby League, (which I believe is the sport played in Heaven) we get six tackles to go up to 100 metres. You can lateral the ball as often as you like per tackle, but the ball is not allowed to be passed with forward momentum. Also, you don't need to be big in order to succeed, just good enough.) (I am five-seven, never weighed more than 160lbs when playing, and played at the top level.) We have several great Polynesians that play the sport also.

    This did make me think about the possible cause for the suicides though.

  • hmth8tr TOOELE, UT
    May 7, 2012 2:55 p.m.


    The problem with your logic is that very, very few people will pay $40 plus for a ticket to watch a school debate or something similar, so your hope that money directed to football be re-directed to other things is futile. People are willing to pay a lot of money to watch football which is why money is spent for it at the high school and college level.

  • SS MiddleofNowhere, Utah
    May 4, 2012 1:21 p.m.

    @ JSB,
    I agree with much of what you have said about alternative extracurricular activities. However I can't agree with what you have said about sports and their value. Sports do great things for those involved. A lot depends on the coaches and where they put their emphasis. Yes, not every kid will get a chance to play, but it doesn't mean that they won't get a chance to work harder than others and develop themselves to a level that they could play. And even if they still don't play, not everyone gets everything they want. That's just a fact of life. If we just give everything to kids then they will never learn how to work for anything and the quality of performance will go way down. Neutralizing competition is not the answer. In fact that's what is wrong with kids today who think they are entitled to everything and it has led to big problems in our society.

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    May 4, 2012 12:04 p.m.

    SS. I've been an assistant high school football coach and, in retrospect, I question the value of the sport when you consider the injury/health risks. There is risk in all sports but most of them don't have the potential for permanent damage to the participants as football does. Another problem with football and many other sports is that there are many who want to participate (I was one of them) but who are eliminated from doing so just because they don't have the physical qualifications (too small, etc.). A comprehensive intramural program allows for far more participation and the benefits you mentioned of playing on a team, etc. Many more people would be able to participate if we dropped interschool sports and went to intramurals. Also, studies have shown that participation in debate, drama, music, school newspaper, yearbook, student government,clubs are all significantly better predictors of long term sucess than is participation in high school athletics. Our young people would be far better prepared for life if we took the money spent on football and put it into these other areas. We'd get much more long term bang for the buck.

  • delasalle Sandy, UT
    May 4, 2012 11:31 a.m.

    Dick - I'm trying to understand the final comment in your article about fame may come but at what price. Are you suggesting young people don't play football? Or are you suggesting that those who do are in it for the fame and couldn't care less about the potential consequences?

    There are multiple problems with any of the above insinuations. Those who commit suicide post NFL career are clearly in the minority, even if they are slightly more likely to do so than the average general population. I've read dentists are also more likely to commit suicide than the average population as well, but does this mean those who pursue a career in dentistry are somehow throwing caution to the wind for the fame and fortune?

    I think the appropriate point here is the NFL needs to understand better the effect of concussions and then attempt to do something to minimize them, whether it's a change in the rules, padding, etc. But knee jerk reactions to minority situations generally creates greater problems.

  • SS MiddleofNowhere, Utah
    May 4, 2012 10:29 a.m.

    Football can do a lot more good for a youth than bad. You obviously have never played football or seen the benefits of youth participating as a team. Football is not a senseless sport. It instills many good qualities in youth. Good qualities which Junior Seau had, that's why he was so successful. It is convenient to blame this on football, but who is to say that Seau didn't suffer from depression, or any other mental illness. Either way, I don't think that should be the focus right now, rather honoring a great man!

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    May 4, 2012 8:41 a.m.

    @silas brill,

    I see the pattern. Don't worry the pattern for society as a whole is religousless ; )

  • Silent Lurker Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 4, 2012 7:28 a.m.

    What really bother me about this is the loss of a good man. I don't care if he was a poly, white, black or purple his death is a loss to us all. I do not like that some pseudo-scientist-doctor taking the opportunity to put forth his theory of what caused this tragedy. Let us all remember these same type scientist thought the world was flat for over 2000 years and honor this man for who he was.

  • Guam_Bomb BARRIGADA, GU
    May 3, 2012 10:06 p.m.


    The answer to your question: Billy Neighbors was an offensive lineman, a largely unheralded position, more than 40 years ago who died in Alabama yesterday. In short, nobody in Utah cares.

    Junior Seau is regarded as one of the best players of his generation. His polynesian heritage is relevant in a Utah newspaper because he was a hero to a generation of young polynesian men and made many believe that with hard work they could transcend the economic difficulty that many first generation immigrants face, as he did. His success meant a lot to polynesians as detailed in the article.

    It was disappointing to see that the first comment on this story was a comment illustrating the authors ignorance instead of honoring a man that meant to much to so many.

  • Aggielove Cache county, USA
    May 3, 2012 9:15 p.m.

    I agree with sports fan, and kkb

  • EightOhOne St. George, UT
    May 3, 2012 7:00 p.m.


    He was a HUGE star representing for such a small group of people. What do you think would happen if say, Manny Paquiao were to suddenly pass away. Don't you think the media would get reaction from the Filipino community??? Remember "Linsanity"??? I personally loved seeing Chinese Americans, as well as Chinese Nationals getting excited for one of their own who made it big!!!

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    May 3, 2012 6:44 p.m.

    When kids are young, they love the game and they love the glory. They don't realize or grasp the long term effects of participating in a violent game like football. Just one concussion can do serious permanent damage. In boxing, they used to call it "punch drunk" but it's the same thing. How unfortunate it is that our public schools sponsor these violent sports. At the same time they are trying to help the kids brains to grow, to get educated, to think better, they are destroying their brains in this senseless sport.

  • SportsFann Bountiful, UT
    May 3, 2012 5:04 p.m.

    Maybe I'm weird here, but I never thought og Junior as a Polynesian or anything other than a stalwart football player. Black, white, Irish, Polynesian...who cares? It is just a very sad story. I hope people will begin to take mental illness seriously and that a rime will come when a man like a great football can receive the help he needs without the stigma I suspect he was afraid of. Now that would make a great headline.

  • Heater BALA CYNWYD, PA
    May 3, 2012 4:53 p.m.

    KKB - it might be helpful for you to understand the audience. There's a big Poly community in Utah, many of whom have and play now for the local universities, so Seau's death is relevant to them. You've seen a race issue where none exists.

    If you go to the SD Union newspaper, you might be further offended because there's a big Poly community in SD too and they'll do similar stories. Relax. It's ok. Harmon isn't a racist nor is the DN.

  • eagle Provo, UT
    May 3, 2012 4:44 p.m.


    Because he meant a lot to the Polynesian community...to me that's newsworthy and part of Seau's legacy. Not seeing a red herring here...

  • Sneaky Jimmy Bay Area, CA
    May 3, 2012 4:39 p.m.

    @KBB its not about race it's about culture. If a Mormon football player comitted suicide you would read about it in headlines everywhere. This was odd and unexpected especially from the polynesian culture and especially from a rold model like Seau. That's why it's a headline.

  • KKB Draper, UT
    May 3, 2012 3:58 p.m.

    Just a totally wild and random thought here but there's another football player who died recently - Billy Neighbors (a white guy). Can you imagine ever seeing a headline that read: "White football stars react to Billy Neighbor's death"?

    I'm not trying to be provocative or racist or anything other than just simply illustrative. If writers are going to point out race, be equal or fair about it. If news stories involve race then report on it. I'm good with that. But how in the world does Seau's death have anything remotely newsworthy about race?