The other night I came across a sports program discussing the monetary value of National Football League franchises. A former sportswriter, I paused as a financial guru sunnily predicted indvidual franchise values surpassing $2-billion. I wondered if concussions and brain damage influenced value. And if they influenced it up or down.
I would guess up. After all, the Romans likely filled a few of those seats at the Coliseum through the promise of upcoming carnage, including damage to brains as well as death and dismemberment. Maybe it's the same with football. It would be nice if it influenced it down, but that's doubtful.
I kept waiting for the sports interviewer to ask the financial guru how the brain concussion issue (and lawsuits, so a relevant question) related to franchise values, but he didn't, at least not durimg the time I watched. Instead he talked about cities building new stadiums (failed to mention teams deserting city-built stadiums, like the San Francisco 49ers totally leaving the city for somewhere south), TV contracts and deep-pocket billionaires.
The issue of brain injuries in football is popping up again because the season is about to begin and a few days ago 83 more players, many recent stars of the game, filed suit against the NFL for head injuries, bringing the total number of ex-players suing the league to over 4,500.
The 83 players have been the recipients of some ugly remarks in the comments sections of newspapers around the country. Many ``fans'' don't want to hear about any complaints that might put a crimp in their Sunday afternoon of watching football.
They say the players knew what they were in for, that they get well paid for facing the dangers inherent in the game, and they're just being cry babies (as if they would say this to the players in person). But really, it's these people who are doing the crying – that they might lose their viewing pleasure. And, unless the game can be made safer, they should.
As to the value of the franchises, there is no escaping that it is, in part at least, blood money. Maybe there could be a formula: such and such franchise is worth $2-billion, of which 20, 30, 40 percent is blood money.
And one wonders if those billionaires and our financial guru ever lose any sleep over that fact. It's doubtful. Despite overwhelming medical evidence it is not a good idea, the league has off and on been pushing for more games, which through attrition as well as violent collisions would up the pain and brain damage.
Still, because extra games would mean more income, that they can put a value on. It becomes, again, a pleasant little numbers game.
Causes Steve Hauk Supports
City of Pacific Grove Public Library, Pacific Grove, California; Animal Friends Rescue Project, Pacific Grove; Animal Welfare Information and Assistance,...