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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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 !

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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 ….. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(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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Ship Ahoy ………. Look Out For Another Mystery That’s About To Take On A Life Of Its Own

Ship Ahoy ………. Look Out For Another Mystery That’s About To Take On A Life Of Its Own

So here we are and with the ongoing NFL work stoppage now looking as if it’s liable to be a prolonged situation . It no longer comes as a surprise to me that the players are looking to paint the league and the team owners in a poor light. At the same time the league hierarchy isn’t about to make any concessions only seeking to further make this embattled situation more intolerable for the fans . At this juncture it’s pretty safe to say the longer the situation goes on the more suspect that I am the league schedule for the proposed 2011 season won’t commence on time as projected for the 3rd September . Suffice to say that both Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith as the highest ranked executives within the NFL and NFLPA might just be the most despised individuals in professional sports at present.

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Drew Brees in a public statement made the claim that the NFL were circled _____ that their target was indeed the NFLPA like sharks smelling blood after the death of former union executive director Gene Upshaw as they left it would be the right time to seek a change in what was the collective bargaining agreement as it stood at the time. I’m not so sure that I’d disagree with the claims being made by Brees but at the same time I’ve also got to question the confrontational approach of the union as this has all played itself out. From my own standpoint as this idiocy plays itself out and with there now being talk of the NBA quite possibly having their own problems with there also being a lockout there as well I can’t help but wonder when the next shoe will drop. David Stern and his counterpart Billy Hunter are now trying to create the perception that they are capable of acting like mature adults , albeit that the league hierarchy seems to be frustrated at the divergence in the differing views as to what’s best for the league. Union President Derek Fisher and the executive committee has said that the union isn’t prepared to make any concessions without the league itself acceding to the union’s own demands . Given the financial instability of the NBA and the fact that they are projected to lose in excess of $450 million for the fiscal year 2011 .

The NFL is up the creek without a paddle and it appears that the NBA isn’t that far behind as to their stupidity . The NBA’s postseason show case event the NBA Finals are now front and center with the Dallas Mavericks taking on the Miami Heat . A clash of styles and with a quartet of All Stars in Dirk Nowitzki , <a href=”http://nba.com/playerfile/lebron_james/”&gt; LeBron James , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade . This series has the makings of being a classic if both teams play up to their true potential . But with that being said I can’t help but wonder if the outcome could once again be the same as before when these two teams last met in an NBA Finals in 2006 . The Mavericks would go on to lose that series 4-2 in what turned out to be very much a lopsided finals’ series . The Heat for their part during that series saw Finals MVP Dwyane Wade have a memorable NBA Finals in leading the team to their sole win of a championship. For then coach Pat Riley that would be his fourth NBA title as a coach over the course of his already legendary NBA career.

With Riley now as the team President he now has his protege` Erik Spoelstra coaching this star studded team . The young coach along with his Dallas Mavericks’ counterpart Rick Carlisle are both looking for their first title as a coach. And for Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban and team GM Donnie Walsh they may well now see this as the organization’s chance at redemption. The acquisition of Tyson Chandler has certainly bolstered the mindset of this Mavericks’ team . Certainly throughout this postseason Dirk Nowitzki has been playing like a man on a mission and he’s been ably assisted by a supporting cast that have simply stepped up to the plate .

The Dallas Mavericks for their part made light work of the Oklahoma City Thunder in a thoroughly convincing fashion defeating Scott Brooks’ team —- 4-1 . For many this result may not have come as a surprise but I for one certainly didn’t feel that the Thunder would wilt so easily but then again with this being such an inexperienced team it is understandable that they would succumb under such circumstances.

The Miami Heat are heavily favored to win this series match-up and with their dynamic trio all playing at a </ahigh caliber this postseason showcase event could either be suspenseful or an unmitigated disaster with the Heat simply walking over the Dallas Mavericks with a great deal of ease. I’d certainly like to think that Mavericks will abate all our fears and make this a memorable NBA Finals ! I’ve no doubt that LeBron James and Dwyane Wade would like disprove that although the Mavericks may well have won their regular season series 2-0 the postseason becomes a completely different environment altogether. There’s a great deal more on the line and as such NBA immortality and a legacy to play for as well as an NBA title. That should be enough an incentive for both teams to showcase their undoubted talent and supply the discerning NBA fan with the best possible extravaganza that they can witness . With a worldwide audience approaching 500 million hoping to witness the event ABC as the host broadcast network will be looking to magnify the brand of the NBA as well as their own broadcast talents. And I am sure that David Stern will be hoping that the emerging markets will like what they see. The NBA brand has reached its maturation and saturation point within North America and the league hierarchy now has to look elsewhere to see how best to make the game still a viable and profitable concern. God knows with the mismanagement of the league and the financial mismanagement amongst the teams by their owners and the respective general managers and you can well understand why the league wants a thoroughly entertaining series . Anything that can showcase the league as a entertaining concern would undoubtedly make the NBA a lure for the fan.

As a bye note can someone explain to me how it is that all of a sudden idiocy rears its ugly head with the regard to the comparisons and contrasts with regard to the careers of LeBron James and Michael Jordan . Now looking to add their own thoughts on the matter happens to be none other than Jordan’s former teammate and fellow Hall of Fame inductee Scottie Pippen . The former Bulls’ player stated in a radio interview with hosts Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic on their morning radio show “Mike & Mike” would state that Jordan being the game’s greatest scorer but James to his mind can be considered to be the game’s greatest player. Perhaps his statement can be misconstrued but in reality the idiocy of that statement at this juncture simply doesn’t make that much sense . James has yet to win a title and when I last looked two consecutive league MVP awards simply means nothing albeit that there’s a a couple of scoring titles to be added to that resume`. LeBron James needs to win NBA multiple titles before the contrasts and comparison can actually be made . Scottie needs to take a chill pill , quieten down before he alienates himself not only within the city of Chicago but also with his former teammates . If there’s one thing I know…… you simply don’t bite the fu#king hand that feeds you and for Scottie Pippen the hand that fed him was indeed Michael Jeffrey Jordan ! Enough said on the matter I do believe !

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Simply chime in with a comment on your thoughts as to the points raised within this piece and thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ………………….

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(1) WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 03: New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees makes his way into the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building for the NFL negotiations on March 3, 2011 in Washington, DC. Photo by Rod Lamkey/Getty Images ……….

(2) Drew Brees has organized workouts for his teammates while trying to organize labor negotiating efforts with NFL owners.
Jonathan Bachman/Cal Sport Media ……

(3) Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, right, watches fellow teammate Jason Terry, left, during practice on Sunday, May 29, 2011, in Dallas. AP Photo/Mike Fuentes ……

(4) Miami Heat basketball players LeBron James (left) and Dwyane Wade talk to the media after a practice session in Miami, Sunday, May 29, 2011. The Heat will play the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the NBA basketball finals on Tuesday . AP Photo/J Pat Carter ………

(5) Jordan and Pippen in a moment of triumph , one of many that the duo had over the course of their career with the Chicago Bulls. Also pictured is Steve Kerr a multiple title winner himself.

(6) A young LeBron James (left) gets the chance to meet his idol Michael Jordan . courtesy of je520wordpress.com ……

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Got Yourself A Headache ? Try Being An NFL Player ?

Got Yourself A Headache ? Try Being An NFL Player ?

It’s often said ………’it takes a tragedy to happen before we truly understand or appreciate one’s mortality’ and truly that saying hits home every time. Sadly last night while having a drink in a bar with friends after work it was reported that former NFL star , two time winning Superbowl player and Pro Bowler Dave Duerson died from a self inflicted gun shot wound. Unfortunately this tragedy doesn’t encapsulate the whole facet of the player’s life after his retirement from the NFL. The player had taken his life this past Thursday at his South Florida home in Sunny Isles .

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Duerson lost his wife to an acrimonious divorce and his post professional life saw him lose his business to financial mismanagement and bankruptcy. Dave Duerson was also a rights’ advocate for current and former NFL players , specifically those who’d suffered from mental health issues related to chronic head traumas . In his will the player left specific instructions that his brain be donated to science for research into blunt head trauma injuries and chronic traumatic encephalathopy ( CTE). Neuro surgeons and Research Fellows at Boston University will be the recipients of the player’s brain and it has been there within the university’s School of Medicine and Neuroscience where research will and has been conducted into head traumas and other neurological health related injuries and diseases as it relates to the NFL. Duane Duerson during his career had suffered repeatedly from chronic symptoms of concussions on the field of play which saw him win a Superbowl with that heralded Chicago Bears’ team coached by Mike Ditka. His second triumph was gained with the New York Giants coached by Bill Parcells .

Courtesy of NFL.com wire reports

Ex-NFL safety Duerson found dead; police await word on cause

Dave Duerson, a four-time Pro Bowl safety who played on Super Bowl winners with the Chicago Bears and New York Giants, has died. He was 50.

The Bears released a statement Friday saying they were “stunned and saddened” by the news and called Duerson “a great contributor to our team and the Chicago community.”

“Today is a difficult day for all of us who loved Dave,” the team said. “We’ll miss him. Our prayers are with his family.”

Miami-Dade Police Detective Robert Williams said the body of a Dave Duerson was found Thursday in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla. Computer records show that the Duerson who lived at the address was born the same month and year as the player.

Investigators haven’t determined the cause of death. Williams said detectives are awaiting the medical examiner’s report.

Duerson’s ex-wife, Alicia Duerson, told NBC Chicago that the former player “loved and cherished his family” and was “extremely proud” of Notre Dame and the Bears.

A native of Muncie, Ind., Duerson was a third-round draft pick by the Bears in 1983 out of Notre Dame and became a key figure on one of the greatest defenses ever assembled.

Who can forget the 1985 Chicago team mauling opponents while shuffling all the way to the championship with Hall of Famers such as Mike Singletary, Dan Hampton and Richard Dent up front? With Todd Bell sitting out the entire season, Duerson played a big role in the backfield with five interceptions that year and made the first of four consecutive Pro Bowls.

“He was a great player for us,” former Bears coach Mike Ditka told The Associated Press. “He stepped in and did a great job. It’s very sad.”

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With all that’s now going on concerning the NFL , the NFLPA and their ongoing collective bargaining agreement . It goes without saying that this issue may not be a part of the two parties’ ongoing negotiations. And with the two parties now said to be hard at trying to eke out and reach an amicable agreement as both NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith , union President Kevin Mawae have met with a US Federal Court appointed and mandated mediator to mediate and address the issues brought up by both sides. In spite of the league’s and union’s appearance in front of the House Congressional Oversight Committee and their investigation into head traumas , their cause and effects with regard to the concussions and other neurological injuries. What we’ve now come to know is that the NFL and the union have never taken these issues seriously and that’ s in spite of the statements attributed to Goodell, Smith and members of the union’s Executive Committee .

Sadly, it may well have to take such tragedies as this , Duerson’s death, before the whole world wakes up the acute problems that players current and former face when they put their very health at risk all in the pursuit of excellence and wealth on the field of play. Granted, the life span of an NFL player on average is no more than six years at best but for those who’ve been involved in th game even longer the long terms effects of repeated injuries be they head trauma or some other inury, the aftermath at times can be catastrophic ! We now have players who’ve been retired no more than two years now suffering from early onsets of Alzheimers’ disease , debilitating and chronic head pains and other far more acute neurological disorders. Dave Duerson was a victim of repeated chronic head pains in the aftermath of the repeated concussions suffered over the course of his career. I’ve often heard the idiotic comments by fans and members of the public alike who state ….‘ let them play because this is a man’s game and they know the risks’ . Well one of the risks isn’t as such to end up in a damn wheelchair and then not knowing who members of your family are or what day of the week it is . This is the sort of asinine , idiotic statement that one would come to expect from someone who’s completely undeducated and without about as much common sense as an invertebrate !

If there’s to be an in depth study into these medical issues by independent as well the NFL’s own medical professionals then it ought to be a concerted effort by all of the parties concerned. Goodell and his predecessor Paul Tagliabue had repeatedly and it certainly hadn’t help that Smith’s predecessor Gene Upshaw were about as contrite in dealing with these issues as former Iraqi leader Sadaam Hussein had been before he decided to gas several hundred thousand Kurdish refugees in Northern Iraq as a precursor to the first Iraqi war. In realiy it has only been in recent years that the NFL and NFLPA have been proactive in dealing with this issue. Goodell and the league’s own inhouse medical professionals have long held the view that injuries suffered by players within the game , many of them at times have been or were pre-existing . Now they’ve begun to change their tune and shown a change in their attitude but they haven’t yet been completely swayed. Goodell’s counterpart , DeMaurice Smith has merely given the public sound bytes but in reality his stance hasn’t been any different than that of Gene Upshaw.

And Upshaw as a player has been someone who I’ve admired but as a union representative he has my complete and utter contempt ! His primary concern has always been how much money came rolling into the NFLPA’s coffers by way of the league’s collective bargaining agreement. His concern , if any , was never for any of his peers or the retired players and there have been public statements that can be attributed to the late union chief executive. Meanwhile the fans out there continue to be completely in awe by what they see on the field of play but rarely do they show any real wish to view after the after life of an NFL player and many of the problems that they face. I liken it how the VA (Veterans’Administration), the government and public at large say that they stand behind the troops in their support but most days they wouldn’t give a soldier the time of day much less say hello . Doubt my word ? Then ask yourself this, when was the last time you offered some form of assistance to a returning veteran much less having spent some time with one either at a military facility such as a hospital or VFW lodge ? Go ahead give it a try and let me know what the experience was like ? It may well change your mindset as to how you actually view their plight. I mean the whole world felt aggrieved with the loss of former NFL star Pat Tillman even in the advent of his death being due to friendly fire but you’d be hard pressed to hear anyone say what happened in the aftermath as to the coverup concerning his death by the Defense Department and the US Army itself ?

The NFL has long maintained that it cares about the players and their well being but you’d be hard pressed to actually believe that statement . And I do believe that the league as a whole as well as the owners as a fraternity are a bunch of conniving and greedy bastards ! Nothing that they’re liable to say as it relates to the health issues of current and former NFL players can be taken with any type of veracity and the NFLPA for their part will merely act as if their concern has always been that of their union members. What I find galling by this whole travesty has been the utter contempt shown by the league in treating this matter with the seriousness ad dignity it deserves. But instead it continues to sweep the matter under the carpet until the next crisis or incident catches the public’s and media’s attention and then it tends to act in something of a diplomatic manner.

I’d certainly like to think at this juncture some common ground can be found where both the NFL and union can work in conjunction with the medical community as well as academia in thoroughly investigating and looking to safeguard the well being of current and former NFL players not just neurological disorders but also all forms of life threatening injuries that can and are suffered over the course of a player’s career. Rather than then seeing a player being pushed aside then left to fend for themselves and more often than not being egregiously denied benefits that’s rightfully due to them. At present there’s a civil suit filed by current and former players against the NFL as the sole defendant that charges them with gross malpractice , fraud and grand larceny in the denial of benefits due to the plaintiffs , in this case a collective of seventy five current and former NFL players. The suit has been filed within the US Federal Court System in Los Angeles for which a trial date has yet to be set. The plaintffs seek unspecified as well as punitive damages . The NFL and owners for their part haven’t as such issued a public statement concerning the matter but I’ve no doubt that the league’s general counsel in all due time with gave that rather perfunctory statement saying that …..” the plaintiffs’ case is without merit”.

In light of Duane Duerson’s death and the health problems that the player is said to have sustained during his professional post NFL career do you firmly believe that the league and union has done enough with regard to safe guarding the well being and health of the players ? Or do you believe that they’ve simply obfuscated their responsibilities and would rather see the players simply deal with their own health concerns themselves ? Bear this in mind the rate of neurological health issues suffered by NFL players is far higher than the general population at large and when compared to the geriatrics (elderly) the actual rate is almost 33% higher . Cause for concern don’t you think when players in their late thirties and forties in some cases are suffering from the early onset of such afflictions as ALS , Alzheimers’ disease , Parkinson’s disease , epileptic seizures, or CTE or an abundance of other life threatening maladies ? Say what you will but at this juncture but this is no longer an issue that can be swept under the carpet as it has been repeatedly done by both the NFL and NFLPA over the years . It’s time for them to do what’s morally and legally right rather than hiding behind that veil of ignorance and complete stupidity !

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(1) 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 stauch 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 ……….

(2) Duerson seen here during an game for the Chicago Bears playing against the Dallas Cowboys at Soldier Field in Chicago , Illinois . AFP/Reuters / Phil Pressman ………..

(3) Chicago Bears former safety Dave Duerson holds up his drivers’ license during a public tribute to his teammate Walter Payton at Chicago’s Soldier Field in this November 6, 1999 file photo. Duerson, a key member of the team that won the 1985 Super Bowl, has died, police said on Friday. Duerson, 50, was found dead this past Thursday night at his home in Miami, said detective Robert Williams, a spokesman for the Miami Dade Police Department. No immediate cause of death was given. REUTERS/Sue Ogrocki …..

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DMX ………………. “Slippin”

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No Habla Espanol …………….

No Habla Espanol

Surprising enough listening to the NFL Commissioner , Roger Goodell address the House Judiciary Committee recently,was like listening to a Caucasian trying to have a conversation with a Spanish speaking native in their native tongue. Goodell’s command of the English language was a hideous embarrassment. With his double-speak and the fact that the NFL hierarchy has become so secretive that it makes Opus Dei seem like the transparency shown by the Klu Klux Klan. But in essence, we should expect no more different from an individual tries to appear to be all things to all people. The commissioner’s appearance up on Capitol Hill was to address a very acute issue, that somehow the commissioner and the NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith have been averse to deal with it head on. And that is the issue of players current and past, who’ve suffered from repeated numerous concussions on the football field. And if that wasn’t enough with the country in apparent uproar of health-care reform and the fact that the government is about to change the parameters of that very issue. By possibly pursuing a public option, it will bring about a situation wherein the government essentially enters the health-care market. What people seem to forget, is that they already are doing so. Now if the question being raised is whether or not they can operate better in this field than the private enterprises . Then, there you have the veracity of a case for an argument that can be made.

Goodell meets with Congress in a scheduled meeting with the House Judiciary Committee, on Capitol, Hill, Washington D.C.,.

The NFL and the NFLPA would have you believe that they have the players’ best interests at heart on this very issue. But the fact of the matter is, that both parties have failed odiously on this very issue to address it head on. Over the years there have inexplicable situations where former players have been unable to attain benefits due to them and what is even more incredulous has been the undeniable fact the NFL appears to be oblivious to the issue. They’ve skirted around it for years even when former players have made numerous calls to Goodell and his predecessor Paul Tagliabue. Their failures , have made this very issue all the more transparent that the NFL’s sole goal is the chase after the ‘Almighty Dollar’ and the expense of their players and very little else. Inasmuch, the same thing was stated by Smith’s own predecessor Gene Upshaw and his odious rant that’ ………the players then, aren’t my concern but today’s players are! As they’re the ones making the money for the NFL’ . If that’s not a damning indictment of the league and the union. Then can someone tell me please what is ?

Courtesy of The New York Daily News :

Congress slams NFL commissioner Roger Goodell about NFL’s head trauma policy …..

By Wayne Coffey Daily News Sports Writer

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Like a quarterback facing a game-long blitz, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the nation’s richest professional sport absorbed a barrage of hits on Capitol Hill Wednesday, when a hearing on football head injuries produced sharp questioning and a finger-jabbing accusation from Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.).

Waters, whose husband played in the NFL, was particularly incensed when Goodell refused to acknowledge a direct link between football and brain-trauma injuries.

“I believe you are an $8 billion organization that has failed in your responsibility to the players,” Waters said. “I know that you dearly want to hold on to your profits. I think it’s the responsibility of Congress to look at your antitrust exemption and take it away.”

The league’s antitrust exemption, established in 1961, cleared the way for owners to reap billions in television revenue.

The hearing – convened by the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) – was held before an SRO crowd in the Rayburn Office Building, among them two NFL Hall of Famers, Willie Wood and Jim Brown.

Wood, the former Packers defensive back, was in a wheelchair. Brown, perhaps the greatest running back in history, walked with a cane.

The hearing was called in the wake of a recent NFL-commissioned survey that revealed that retired NFL players may suffer from such irreversible brain diseases as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), and dementia, at rates far greater than the general population. Conyers said it was time for the committee to do “an expeditious and independent review all of the data.”

The league has steadfastly downplayed the validity of any studies indicating a connection between playing football and the incidence of brain disease, maintaining that its own recent survey was widely misinterpreted.

Christoper Nowinski, a former Harvard football player and professional wrestler, is the founder of the Sports Legacy Institute and co-director of Center For the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University. He testified about his own years of concussion-related problems, while his colleague, Dr. Ann McKee, reported that she found “severe” brain damage in all 11 of the postmortem studies she has made of former pro and college football players.

“I am constantly surprised by the NFL’s reaction to evidence that is overwhelming that we have a serious public-health crisis on our hands,” Nowinski said.

Goodell repeatedly defended the league’s actions and policies, saying he had spent more time and attention to the issue of brain injuries to NFL players than any issue in his time as commissioner.

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The league has conducted its own investigations into concussions and head traumas suffered by NFL players and the their aftermath. But as of yet , they’ve yet to make their findings public. However, a number of universities have conducted similar studies their own investigations into the issue at the behest of former NFL players and a number of insurance concerns. Much of which had repudiated earlier claims that were being made by the NFL. The real issue however , may well be why the NFL has failed to deal with this very acute issue ? The thought would be that the health of its players would be paramount to the well being of the game and its viability ? But then again, when the feeder system for your non ending talent pool, is that of the collegiate game. Then one would guess that this sole issue would be not be of paramount importance to the league.

Much of what Goodell and Smith have stated here has only recently enacted done in the last ten months . What of prior to this period in time ? As I alluded to earlier, it’s been nothing more than mere double-speak on both of their parts.

The indifference shown by the league has been incredulous and what has proven to be even more exacerbating has been the very fact that we’ve not heard any current NFL player come out openly and comment on the issue. It’s as if they’re of the opinion that this doesn’t concern them . Moreover , it’s unlikely that they’d ever suffer such a trauma on or off the field of play. One of the bye products of a concussion suffered on the field is the very real possibility of there being long suffering and lingering long term problems for the victims. The possibility that down the line there’s a chance of possibly a player being in the first early stages of the onset of Alzheimer’s disease is a very disturbing scenario. Anyone whose seen the result of this very debilitating disease ,surely knows that the suffering is a constant one . And most certainly, it leaves its victims in a place of not being cognizant of what’s happening around them. Much less, being able to hold an oral line of conversation with anyone and then being able to respond with some semblance of clarity.

Courtesy of USAToday.com:

Goodell grilled by Congress on head injuries, won’t admit link

WASHINGTON (AP) — NFL commissioner Roger Goodell would not acknowledge a connection between head injuries on the football field and later brain diseases while defending the league’s policies on concussions before Congress.

Under sometimes-contentious questioning from lawmakers — and suggestions about reconsidering the league’s lucrative antitrust exemption — Goodell sat at a witness table Wednesday alongside NFL Players Association head DeMaurice Smith.

Both men agreed to turn over players’ medical records to the House Judiciary Committee.

Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., asked Goodell whether he thinks there’s an injury-disease link. Goodell responded that the NFL isn’t waiting for that debate to play out and is taking steps to make the game safer.

“I just asked you a simple question. What is the answer?” persisted Conyers.

Goodell replied by saying a medical expert could give a better answer than he could.

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., whose husband played in the NFL, asked Goodell how the league was addressing the welfare of retired players during current collective bargaining negotiations with the union.

Goodell said that it’s a “priority for the owners and players to take better care of our retired players,” but Waters cut him off, demanding specifics.

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So what now , you may ask ? Will the NFL and the NFLPA be proactive on this issue ? Or will they just cast it aside as so often has been done , with them issuing the statement that they will address it at some time in the future ? Much like any other business entity where image is everything. The NFL is no different than any other – other than the fact that in their field of operation they’re the only game in town. And they will continue to act and do as they please because they’ve no opposition within their field of endeavor. Or from the federal government as a matter of fact as they too have been culpable in ignoring the plight of present and former players in the NFL , in this regard. Now being the only game in town and with this issue being of a very delicate nature. There has to be something that the NFL can do at this juncture ? Rather than hiding behind that veil of secrecy and outright denial.