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October 27, 2017

I’m sure the world has had quite enough of hot takes about Colin Kaepernick. I mean, when this column debuted years ago, wasn’t that the hot topic? Is there even a single “hot” take left, or are we stuck with mealy-mouthed tepid takes on either thinking Kaep is one hundred percent right about race relations and is being blackballed (which he is), or he’s an ingrate ruining America by being a snowflake (which he isn’t)? Nah, man. If there is anything this column could never do, it’s take a tepid stance. So let’s ignore Kaep for a minute for this super spicy take, Gawker-style: football isn’t worth it anyway.

Yeah, that’s right. Football in its current form should probably go away. I mean, let’s face the music here. Football is fun. It’s probably my favorite sport. It’s the one sport worth watching every week consistently. But it is also a mismanaged garbage fire of an organized activity that puts the bodies of players at risk far beyond a reasonable amount, collected within a culture that enables serious abuse of athletes’ health. Everyone has heard the Comm 101 speech about concussions, by now. Concussions are bad, and we don’t do enough about them. Those are the basics. Coaches know this, fans know this, and players know this. Well, most do. But the conversation stops there. Those speeches, and us by extension, ignore the other injuries players have no business running out there on.

A couple years ago, Ben Roethlisberger cracked a rib and played. Of course he did. He’s Big Freaking Ben, meathead and Tough Quarterback Supreme! He’s Brett Favre that got hurt way more often and was good way less often. Often because he was hurt. But we sure as heck praised the guy, and there will for sure be some stupid mention of his toughness when he is inevitable enshrined in the Hall of Fame for being Eli Manning, minus the durability and plus having the Browns to beat up on twice a year. And this is the epitome of football and why it isn’t worth it. There is this stupid notion that if you don’t play through pain, you’re Jay Cutler. And nobody wants to be Jay Cutler. Not even Jay Cutler. And when that culture leads to long-lasting injuries due to gratuitous violence, we ignore it. When Peyton Manning needs to have vertebrae fused, we lament the fact that he can’t play anymore. Serious, quality-of-life injuries are commonplace. That isn’t at all sustainable. If football is going to stay alive as a sport, it needs to reform itself into a safer, more sustainable spectacle.

Anthony Adams
Political Editor

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