by Irvin Muchnick
According to reliable reports, National Football League owners and players are very close to a deal that will save the 2011 season. One of the last hang-ups of a lockout-averting agreement is a provision being referred to as the “Legacy Fund” – a negotiated siphoning off of a portion of the NFL’s $9 billion in annual revenues to cover more fully the disability claims of retired players who suffer from crippling orthopedic injuries or brain trauma. Let’s focus on the latter. The category going by the useful shorthand “concussions” not only shortens quantity and maims quality of life, but also defines the problem in terms over and above the interests of management, players, and even professional retirees.
Bully for Hall of Famer Carl Eller and the other named plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit if they have been able to gain a seat at the collective-bargaining table alongside the NFL and the temporarily decertified NFL Players Association – or at least created pressure for more comprehensive benefits to offset the nearly bottomless pit of sob stories that are the fallout of mass entertainment.
But I also say: Who’s speaking for the rest of us? These include kids who should not have been playing tackle football at all in peewee and high school programs before their informed consent could be secured and their risks of lifelong disability from concussions and repetitive subconcussive head blows could be properly processed.
On the larger canvas, they also include a society that, when all is said is done, will have manifested lower academic achievement and workforce productivity, and increased violent crime, all as a consequence of America’s brilliantly marketed football obsession.
CONTINUED TODAY AT BEYOND CHRON, THE SAN FRANCISCO ONLINE NEWSPAPER: