For sports, let the players decide if risk worth reward
Most Americans enjoyed a fine Super Bowl game Sunday, watching Peyton Manning (with retirement possible) go out a winner after a long and classy career.
Even if you were for the Panthers, you’ve got to admire Manning. No one wants to think about Peyton winding up with severe brain issues because of his time in football, like Kenny “The Snake” Stabler or Junior Seau, former stars left with mental problems due to repeated blows to the head.
With so much attention on sports concussions and new research showing how widespread and debilitating the repeated blows to the head are, you can’t help but worry about Peyton. The NFL has said that nearly one-third of its retired players will experience brain damage later in life, according to recent research.
The NFL appears to be taking head shots seriously with players required to sit out until they can pass a concussion protocol following any hard shot to the helmet. There were definitely cases where star players had to remain on the bench when they were needed, so it looks like they are serious about enforcement.
There have been calls to outlaw football over player health issues. But this isn’t the first time the game has come under the microscope for injuries. In 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt got involved as he was a fan of the game. Roosevelt used his office to mandate some rules after 19 deaths came on the field in 1905 among high school, college and the adult games. That led to the elimination of open fighting in the pile-ups and using professional brawlers as ringers in college games.
It’s hard to see how the game can be made much safer than it is now, but by all means the NFL should diligently study it. Football, with players weighing well beyond 270 pounds who can still run ridiculously fast to bring down other players, is clearly a risky game. In the early years, the players, coaches and team owners had no way of knowing how serious the repeated head shots could be later in life. That has changed with more medical knowledge.
Let’s also keep in mind that football is not required at any level and those who make the pros are well compensated. The average NFL player earns over $1 million per year. But more telling is the practice squad players who never make highlight reels are guaranteed a minimum of $6,600 per week.
This is not a case of protecting coal miners just scraping by, trying to feed their families.
The risks are known and it’s a personal choice to play at any level and one where the payoff may justify the risk for professionals. We hope the NFL does all they can to protect the players, but ultimately the decision to play should be left to the players.
Pastor’s Protection bill pure political posturing
By Dan Pool, Editor
To State Rep. Rick Jasperse:
I am publicly asking you to introduce legislation that will protect news reporters from being forced to eat squirrel meat while in the course of their work.
I know this is a grave concern of many of us -- that we may be at some gathering in the line of work and be presented with an objectionable dish of squirrel and feel that we are compelled by law or civil penalty to consume the varmint.
Now please note that your bill should not infringe on our right to eat squirrel meat if we feel that is to our liking, as we would still maintain our rights to decide.
I got the idea for this bill from reading about the Pastor’s Protection bill that is currently being heard under the Gold Dome in response to legalized gay marriage.
As I am sure you are aware that bill actually doesn’t do anything but it sure sounds good for politicking around the state, being able to say you are a strong supporter of protecting religious rights as evidenced by your work on a bill that didn’t have any measureable effect.
As Rep. Tanner of Dawsonville and Speaker Ralston have both said in some of their press comments, the bill doesn’t offer any more protection but is needed to “reassure” pastors they would never have to perform a ceremony they didn’t want to – as though there were gay men or women who might barge into a church and demand to be married by a preacher who didn’t like them or their lifestyle.
True, some marriages get off to worse starts, but the scenario is pretty farfetched that a preacher would be forced to show Jesus’ love where he has open hostility.
And when you see a politician talking about how they saved religious rights, ask them what they really did.