It’s Never Too Late ……………

It’s Never Too Late ……..

There’s been a lull on the sports horizon and very little of late that has been happening . It was however sad to hear and read about the death of Hall of Famer John Mackey . The 69 year old died in his sleep at an assisted living facility during which he suffered many ailments such as dementia , epileptic seizures and the early stages of Alzheimers but the troubling thing related to Mackey’s untimely demise is the mere fact that this former NFLPA President saw that the NFL has done little to assist former players with aid benefits . John Mackey a prodigious and productive player over the course of his career but the sadness in his passing should be something that the NFL can perhaps learn from.


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Slide show for your perusal .

And as saddening as it was to heat of John Mackey’s passing , consider this concerning what can be described as part of the former of NFL player’s last moments on the earth . He had to have constant around the clock assistance as he has lost many of motor neuron skills , a colostomy bag was part of the player’s regimen as he was unable use a restroom under his own volition . Unable to care for himself with a sense of dignity this was how this former NFL player spent his final days on this earth , not quite in a place of degradation but it was simply has to be humiliating to know that this simply is an untold story that seems to another episode that the NFL would rather not let the world actually have an eye on . The underbelly and the dark side of what happens to many of the players that sacrificed so much for their love of the game and with a view to finding success and fame. In retirement we are under the impression that many of the players from Mackey’s generation and prior have all the means where they will be able to take care of themselves with all of the amenities one would deem available to them . But that was certainly not the case and it would now appear for many of his contemporaries from the era he played in a similar position .

We are constantly bombarded with the message that the NFL cares about its own but in reality how true is that to begin with ? Far too many players are actually falling through the cracks when it comes to the so called care that’s said to be provided by the NFL and in particular by the players’ own union the NFLPA . And inasmuch as the alleged assistance that was being provided to the player at the time of his death in terms of benefits to assist him in his time of need , so much more could have been done to assist Mackey and many of his kind who are suffering

The sad part to this all is that while the NFL labor stoppage now in its 116th day very little has been mentioned as what the league’s intent will be with regard to retired veterans and how they will be assisted . More we have been led to believe as part of these labor negotiations has been to do with how the league heirarchy and the NFLPA will split their $9 billion revenue stream . DeMaurice Smith as Executive Director of the NFLPA much like his predecessor Gene Upshaw has said little about the issue of current veterans as to their benefits . And though Mackey died in an assisting living facility what might be even more surprising was the mere fact that the former NFL great’s benefits were actually cut to such an extent that it seems inconceivable that the league now feels that is doing more now than ever before in providing assistance for their former now retired members . If that is the case then perhaps they can somehow explain why it was that former Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mike Webster and Dave Duerson died under such degrading circumstances ? This player part of the Steelers’ Iron Curtain and was a man of honor but his death was in such a stark contrast to what his career was said to be all about. We know that his story has been well chronicled , bouts of alcoholism , depression but again Smith suffered from chronic headaches all due to his career in the NFL .

Throughout the course of his career Mike Webster is said to have suffered as many as a dozen game concussions over the course of his career through much of which the medical observations and advice given to the player was extremely poor. And granted the NFL has progressed a great deal in the years since Webster retired from the game with regard to information and research that the medical establishment has provided from their research into the cause and effect of concussions and head traumas. It hasn’t been the NFL that has actually laid the groundwork in this research but academia and in particular such noted colleges of medicine such Boston University School of Medicine & Neuro Sciences , Harvard School of Medicine & Neurology , Stanford School of Medicine & Neurology as well as the AMA’s own conclusive and incisive research. That being said it has been the NFL’s reluctance even with their own medical counsel who have simply said to the contrary that there was no discerning cause and effect with regard head trauma , concussions and the debiliatating maladies suffered by the players in the aftermath of their retirement from the NFL . Dave Duerson suffered from extreme bouts of depression having suffered multiple concussions over the course of his career but the sadness under circumstances that led to the player taking his own life cannot simply be misplaced as another act of another suicide. There has to be a real reason behind these cases and much of that can be related to the mere fact that the NFL itself has not been there to meet the needs of the retired players.

As I alluded to earlier with Mike Webster’s death came as a shock to many but the conditions surrounding his death are so inconceivable and beyond belief. We know that the player had fallen on hard times that he sought help but little had been forthcoming from the NFLPA and was beyond comprehension to believe that here was a real giant of the game who at the time of his death lived in squalor , suffered with dementia , bouts of severe depression. But what could be even more troubling was the fact that Mike Webster with his medical issues died under such dire circumstances where at times he would defecate and urinate on himself while trying to hold a normal conversation with family members or friends.I am not so sure that in the midst of this all the NFL fully understands the serious ramifications from the course of action that it has failed to take over the years.

I find it rather ironic however that players such as NFLPA President Kevin Mawae and Drew Brees now suggest that this lockout has more to do with asssisting the retired and veteran players than it has to do with dealing with a mere labor issue. Perhaps I’m mistaken but this discussion rarely comes up over the course of their negotiations or the formal statements made to the print and television media . It could well now be that the NFLPA much like the league hierarchy are now seeking to curry favor by seeking the public’s sympathy in the ongoing charade. This has never been a labor dispute in the true sense of the word because it has been in fact merely been about money and how best each side can try to outdo each other while simply not losing face in the eyes of the onlooking public ! It may well be too little too late at the end of the day as it appears that now more than ever before so many former NFL players are living in suffering in such dire circumstances and many of whom may well die in such in such abject squalor or perhaps in other such conditions beyond their control .

In the aftermath of Kurt Warner’s retirement from the Arizona Cardinals it was apparent that the organization would face an uphill battle trying to remain relevant within the league . And for head coach Ken Whisenhunt and his coaches this past season”> season was a trying time for the fans , the team and in particular the Bidwill family as owners of the team.

Given the fact that the team having drafted Matt Leinart his lack of candor and command in learning the nuances of being a quarterback in the NFL . It is extremely understandable to see the reason why this team has failed so miserably in the aftermath of Kurt Warner’s retirement . Leinart with having a heralded career with USC at the collegiate level he has completely failed to live up to the percieved hype that would suggest that he had the makings of a NFL caliber quarterback. His career in the NFL so far can be best described as mediocre for want of a better word !

Coming off a 5-11 season within the NFC West season where the team simply underperformed . Much of that came down to the fact that there simply wasn’t a quarterback on this roster that good enough to command with the respect of the team much less play with any degree of consistency. You cannot imply to me that the likes of Max Hall , Derek Anderson , John Skelton or Richard Bartel are what the coaches of this organization now have the belief in guiding them to the promise land less and a legitimate shot at the Superbowl ! There’s more chance to be had with Andre Bocelli spending a night of passionate unadulterated sex with several porn stars than the premise of seeing that trio of quarterbacks actually leading the Cardinals to a winning season much less raising the Lombardi Trophy in triumph !

From an offensive standpoint the Cardinals are quite an attractive team but without a signal caller of confidence and the ability to lead they will continue to come up short . It would be pretty safe to say that Larry Fitzgerald is one of the best wide receivers in the league and certainly noteworthy enough to be considered amongst the top five overall ! But the real problem has that has simply bedeviled this team over the past season has simply been not being able to close out games with authority when they have their opponents on the ropes . This above anything else has to have been truly worrisome for Ken Whisenhunt and his coaching staff .

This upcoming season it will be very interesting to see whether or not the Arizona Cardinals can acquit themselves with any real degree of authority and simply be considered contenders within the NFC West and the conference overall . They’ve shown signs defensively that they’ve made some progression but clearly there has to be a great deal more consistency on both sides of the ball from this team !

One of the most pressing issues for the Cardinals also will be to quell the rise in discontent with Larry Fitzgerald as the player is now said to be genuinely dissatisfied with the direction that the organization is said to be apparently going in. It is abundantly clear that this organization can ill afford to lose a player of Fitzgerald’s caliber and simply become an also ran amongst the ranks of the NFC . And that is something that clearly Rod Graves as the team’s general manager or members of the Bidwill family would like to see isa disgruntled star player looking for a trade . But let’s face facts here if this team can’t take care of business this season then in all certainty Fitzgerald will want out ………. no matter what !



Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit and thanks as always for the continued support as it greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal …..

Picture and slide show details below

(1) John Mackey, left, and Ralph Wenzel were both on the San Diego Chargers in 1972, but have no memory of playing together. Courtesy of The New York Times /Brendan Smialowski ….

(2) John Mackey, left, seen here some five years prior to his death with his rings from Super Bowl V and the Pro Football Hall of Fame; and Ralph Wenzel at the Annapolitan Assisted Living Community in Annapolis Maryland. Mr. Mackey, 65, and Mr. Wenzel, 64, both have dementia. Brendan Smialowski / The New York Times ……..

(3) Dave Duerson (right) is seen here testifying before Congress in June of 2007 . In the background seated is former Dallas Cowboys’ player Darryl Johnston . Duerson’s testimony to Congress dealt with the issues of neurological disorders suffered by current and retired players . He was a staunch advocate also for the rights of players with regard their medical plight , denial of benefits and numerous other health related issues. He was only 50 years old at the time of his death. AP/ Malcolm Warren …………

(4) Webster and Bradsahaw seen here in Cantion , Ohio, home to the Pro Football Hall of Fame . AP Photo/archives …

(5) First round draft pick, Patrick Peterson of the Arizona Cardinals speaks during a press conference at the team’s training center auditorium on April 29, 2011 in Tempe, Arizona. Getty Images / Christian Petersen ……

(6) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) catches an 11-yard touchdown in front of San Francisco 49ers safety Reggie Smith (30) in the second quarter of an NFL football game in San Francisco, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011. The Cardinals would go on to lose the game 38-7 to the San Francisco 49ers . AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

(7) San Francisco 49ers linebacker Manny Lawson (99) sacks Arizona Cardinals quarterback John Skelton in the first quarter of an NFL football game in San Francisco, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011. San Francisco 49ers corner-back Shawntae Spencer was also credited on the sack. AP Photo/Paul Sakuma ……

(8) (L-R) Quarterbacks Matt Leinart (7) left and Kurt Warner (13) of the Arizona Cardinals celebrate after winning the NFC championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles on January 18, 2009 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Eagles 32-25 to advance to the Super Bowl. Getty Images North America /Jamie Squires ……

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Author: tophatal ...........

An avid sports' fans that's all !!!!!

18 thoughts on “It’s Never Too Late ……………”

  1. Funny you mention the new assertion that now all of a sudden this lockout is about the retired players and the pension fund. That is one three topics that weren’t even mentioned during all this B.S. about “we are close to a settlement.” Anybody who has even been involved in collective bargaining knows there is no such thing as “close;” there’s “done” and “not done” – that’s it. The easy stuff gets done up front, the hard stuff like the retired players fund, the rookie salary cap and the 18-game schedule (when’s the last time you heard that mentioned, especially since it was a “line in the sand” issue) gets saved for the end because they will be the hardest to hammer out and come with the highest cost for either side.


    1. JW

      All this bullshit that the NFL Cares and the NBA Cares because of a few socially conscious moves merely to heighten the public’s awareness is simply a joke to begin with ! The old timers not only from the two sports mentioned as well as baseball __ it has been reported many have lived in squalor and intolerable conditions . Consider Mackey’s own case at the time of his death . Dementia , Alzheimers and the fact that the player had lost his motor neuron skills to the effect where at times he’d defecate and urinate on himself . What dignity is there in living like that when your own fu_king union (NFLPA) has done little to assist ? Especially when it comes to light that they were going to cut the measly benefits he was said to be receiving .

      The only negotiations that are being done upfront is to make sure that the current players will be well taken care of now and well into the immediate future and upon their retirement . Unfortunately the same couldn’t be said for the likes of Mackey , Duerson or Mike Webster . As they were simply left to die like dogs with little assistance if any from their own damn union.

      The same thing is now happening amongst military vets from even recent actions in Afghanistan and Iraq but what’s usually so atypical is the mere fact that not of this is reported as the government doesn’t want to see the moral of the country brought down . The VA has become a monolothic bureau of incompetency and bureaucratic idiocy . But yet you have these young kids opining on shit that they simply have no clear cut comprehension about especially when it comes to actual warfare and being in the midst of battle . Never mind the assholes in Congress and their actual thoughts on the matter !

      tophatal …………


  2. I am so tired of all the greed and hypocrisy in sports, but it’s no worse than the rest of our society. As long as we’re happy why should we care if there are others suffering.
    Sorry for getting so serious, but I’m getting pretty fed up with all the bullshit.


    1. aero

      I know where you’re coming from and I fully understand as this is simply a microcosm of what’s indeed wrong with society at present ! All this bullshit about the country being free and we’re able express ourselves is a joke ! We’ve a justice system that’s bereft of common sense and two federal legislative chambers where intelligence is sorely lacking ! And within the realms of sport we have a bunch of fucking greedy owners and players . Not much else needs to be said on the subject matter on than to say my condolences to the immediate family of John Mackey !

      tophatal ……………


    2. aero

      The entire NFL hierarchy , team owners and players’ union (NFLPA</b) are full of so much shit that you'd gag from the stench ! They're all a bunch of damn hypocrites from the late Gene Upshaw and his damn ignorance as to the plight of his members when he was the executive director of the union . But these same dumb ass simpletons have erected a statue in his honor never mind the fact he denegrated players such as Mackey and Webster with the statement …. .” it’s my duty to represent the players in the NFL that are currently playing because they’re the ones making the money “.

      Denise Milani . In case of an emergency simply press or squeeze her assets for assistance .

      The NFL owners much like their NBA counterparts as well as those in baseball and hockey are a bunch of fu##king morons to begin with ! They wouldn’t know the meaning fiscal responsibility if it were written on a chalk board and they were asked to give a succinct definition of its meaning !

      tophatal …………..


  3. I haven’t been paying attention much. I don’t really care what they are far apart on and what the outcome is. I just want to see some football. I hope the season gets shortened. I’d like the Raiders chances more if there were less games….


    1. chappy 81

      I’m now immune to the horse shit of the NFL and NBA as far as their respective lockouts go ! What angers me is the death of veteran players such as Mackey , Webster and Duerson who died under such degrading circumstances . Much of it due to their respective playing careers only then to find out that their union simply shuns them ! Look at John Mackey’s case and the fact that the NFLPA were about to cut off his benefits but yet Goodell and DeMaurice Smith act as if they’ve always had the veteran players’ interests at heart ? That’s a load of fucking shit and the whole world knows it ! All of the research done and it took years before the NFL’s own medical counsel would acknowledge the cause and effect of concussions during the game and their after effects.

      All of this talk that the players know the dangers is simply asinine ignorance and shows a lack of damn knowledge all round ! The league and the union has a duty to safe guard the players just as much as the players themselves have to be prepared of the imminent dangers so it shouldn’t mean the either the NFL or NFLPA simply obfuscates their responsibilities at all !

      Megan Fox bares a lil’ something , something .

      Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.

      Have you been Transformed lately ?

      tophatal ……………


  4. let’s get real here guys. The NFLPA is and was and will never be about the older great players. This current crop of players, owners, have never given a crap their own. This is the big lie. They played and were paid and no screw em. This is a sad fact of life. I have know many former NFL players in my lifetime. The NFL has forgotten its roots. The roots of the game coming the working stiff. The NFL is now about image and corporations. The little guy made the NFL and we are getting fucked big time. John Mackey was a great player. I have seen him play many times up close and personal. A great player. It is sad to see how he died.


    1. Bobby Gee

      Anyone who believes that the NFL much less the union cares about the veteran players are so damn naive to begin with ! I don’t care if Drew Brees makes the statement that for him it actually giving to the back to the retired veterans . Fuck the players that are currently playing , rarely have any of them stepped up to the plate to voice what those veteran players have done to make the game what it has become . Now it is all about greed and not much else beyond that ! The owners have Goodell wrapped around their fingers and sniffing their ass !

      It is disgraceful to think that John Mackey , Duerson and Webster died under such demeaning conditions and that the NFL much less their union did little to assist them in their time of dire need ! In Mackey’s case they were about to cut off the player’s benefits so what does that tell you about the intent of the NFLPA and the league at large ?


      tophatal ……..


    1. Drew

      I’m not about to rain on James Harrison’s parade but I think he may well be right when it comes to Goodell ! On the other hand he needs to rein it in somewhat before things get the better of him . He can ill afford to keep on chastising Goodell in such a way before someone within the Steelers’ front office intervenes.

      Anyway it’s not a prerequisite to have a high IQ to be playing in the NFL to begin with ! After the garbage that came out Ray Lewis’ mouth that …… ‘ the fans will resort to crime if there’s no NFL’ clearly shows that he’s anally retentive and a complete asshole !

      “Son you don’t want to grow up to be working for the man or kissing his ass that’s why I told the commissioner he can suck my d_ck ! “ ” Goo goo dada goo goo ” !

      Harrison and his son James Harrison III

      🙂 — 😉

      tophatal …….


  5. I caught OTL’s piece on Mackey. Pretty touching.

    Just a hunch here but I’m guessing the NFL will come to terms on an agreement that will guarantee a season, yet still shaft the veterans that gave of themselves to make the league.


    1. Chris

      A number of veterans amongst them notably , Carl Eller are intent on bringing a class action suit separate to the one brought by Peyton Manning , Brees and Brady . But this one will have both the union ( NFLPA) and league as defendants in an aim seeking out a deal that sets aside proper benefits for retired and veteran players .

      Given the fact the NFL and union has done little to show that they have the best interests of the retired veterans at heart which was exemplified by DeMaurice Smith’s predecessor Gene Upshaw when he stated …“I care more about the current players in the NFL” ….. rather many of his peers that he’d played alongside. The NFL and union are a bunch of gutless sh#t-heads whose only cause and care is simply about the amount of money that they can attain !

      tophatal …….


  6. The NFL is now said to be setting aside $1 billion to aid veteran NFL players and future retirees in terms of benefits however they haven’t said whether or not they will change criteria allowing veterans to receive the benefits needed . At present they have to played in the league for a minimum of four years but when the league was in its infancy a number of players simply didn’t play four years if that . Injuries caused many of them to leave the game after one and even two years .

    tophatal …….


  7. Typical NFL careers are extremely short and retired vets need to be taken care of…looking forward to hearing about the details associated with this aspect of the settlement agreement.

    The way Mike Webster left this earth was inexcusable…


    1. Drew

      The way that Webster , Mackey and Forrest Blue died was totally inexcusable and it shows the actual lack credibility that there’s to be had within the NFL and the union when it comes to the acute care of the retired veterans .

      Mackey was about to have his benefits cut by the league just prior to his death , Webster died as a drooling vegetable defecating and urinating on himself . And Blue just like Mackey suffered not only from the early onset of senile dementia but also Alzheimer’s disease . And in each case they were given little if any treatment along those lines by either the union or the NFL for that matter .

      Throughout the years numerous studies have been conducted by elite establishments (Yale , Harvard BUMC , Stanford and Johns Hopkins) within academia and the medical profession concerning the cause and effect of head trauma and concussions within the NFL but all too often this has been discounted by the NFL’s alleged own medical professionals who have provided them with counsel .

      tophatal ………..


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