Two days ago I posted comments by one-time San Francisco 49er Super Bowler George Visger, who has lived for nearly three decades with a crippling head injury. Visger was part of the delegation speaking on June 20 at the National Press Club in Washington in support of the lawsuit led by ex-Minnesota Viking great Carl Eller. Dave Pear, who heads the best-organized group of National Football League retirees lobbying for better pension and disability benefits, has posted the video at http://davepear.com/blog/2011/06/retired-football-players-june-20th-press-conference/.
A few notes from here:
* The mix of faces at this event included not only Eller but also other African Americans in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, such as Lem Barney and Irv Cross (who moderated the conference). This thoroughly refutes the whisper campaign by NFL Players Association leadership that criticism of it is racially based.
* A number of current NFL players showed up to support the Eller group. I will list all their names in a separate post. While Tom Brady and the Manning brothers sue the league to end the lockout over their inalienable right to hoard $90 million a year each, or whatever the traffic will bear for their services, it is heartening to see that a contingent of their contemporaries maintains a broader perspective.
* Though the general abandonment of retired players is a legitimate economic and moral issue, I am not going to belabor all of their grievances. From a public health standpoint, there is a crucial difference between orthopedic injuries and brain trauma. What has brought us to a national tipping point, in my view, is the league’s denial of a generation of evidence with respect to the latter.