If, as some claim, violent video games and films have contributed to the desentsitization that has led to our killing culture, then certainly football can also be blamed. We have been trained to continue to cheer the game even though we now know there is ongoing brain damage in every contest. If that doesn't desensitize our chuldren, I don't know what does.
But there is a difference. In the films and video games, the damage is only pretended. In football, it is really going on. How do you celebrate an event that could very well leave its contestants wondering what city or state they are in a dozen years from now?
We are told they are paid and understand the risks. Perhaps.That doesn't protect our children from correctly presuming, given how we glorify the game, that brain damage is no big deal.
Today, only a few hours ago, Junior Seau's four children filed a wrongful death suit against the National Football League. Seau, 43, a former star, killed himself a few months ago. It was discovered he had been suffering from CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), a degenerative brain condition that can lead to depression and dementia, and, obviously, suicide.
Of course a master suit has already been filed against the NFL by thousands of former football players, most of whom probably live wretched or only partial lives.
Still, we prepare to celebrate another Super Bowl in 11 or 12 days. I used to be a sportswriter and covered the San Francisco 49ers a time or two. I was hoping they would lose their game last Sunday to Atlanta. Not because I have anything against the 49ers, but because I would prefer the kids in this region of Northern California, my region, not be exposed to all the remaining days of hype for a game that will take a toll on the brain cells of the players.
I wouldn't wish this on the kids of Atlanta, either, but I'm naturally more concerned about kids I know. Atlanta parents should be glad the Falcons lost to San Francisco.
Actually, I do hold a grudge against the 49ers. Some weeks ago their starting quarterback, Alex Smith, was knocked out of a game with a concussion. When he had to sit out another week, the 49ers used that opening to install another player permanently at Smith's position, thus subliminally relaying the message to all players everywhere that reporting a concussion can be injurious to your job prospects, let alone your brain.
Smith, by the way, is a very smart guy. He should, while his intelligent brain is operating, walk away from the game, laughingly.
There have been recent stories that the 49ers have not found a company to put up hundreds of millions to have its name on a to be constructed new stadium for the team. Maybe some companies are a little worried about that master lawsuit, or simply don't want to be connected to a game that destroys its competitors. Still, someone will pony up the money. That's a given.
A few people, incidentally, have told me I shouldn't write this, that that might take away their fun watching the game. Those very nice people have been successfully desensitized.
Checking the word ``desensitization'' on wikpedia, I found it defined as ``the diminished, emotional responsiveness to a negative or aversive stimulus after repeated exposure to it.''
It is somewhat ironic that this sounds like the damage inflicted on the brain after repeated battering in the game of football.
Causes Steve Hauk Supports
City of Pacific Grove Public Library, Pacific Grove, California; Animal Friends Rescue Project, Pacific Grove; Animal Welfare Information and Assistance,...