Over the past five years, the risk associated with playing professional football have been exposed and litigated. Players who have been retired for nearly a decade are just now experiencing the affects of such a brutal and gruesome sport. To add insult to injury, many of the players are enduring financial distress and are about as liquid as the chalkboard from my third grade classroom. Whereas, retired players from every other sport are thriving, especially the retirees of professional basketball. Exhibit A, Michael Jordan played 15 seasons in the NBA and a couple years in minor league baseball, exited the NBA and proceeded to make more money after his career selling shoes than his 15 seasons in the NBA combined. Exhibit B, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, has become a business mogul, owning restaurants, movie theaters and baseball teams nationwide, with no signs of slowing down. Exhibit C, Shaquille O’Neal, another guy who was able to transcend his athletic career into a powerful business network.
Even in the sport of baseball, athletes who competed half a century ago are still well and able. Hank Aaron, a long time resident of Atlanta, Ga can still be seen in the Cascade Heights of Atlanta, Georgia. Fellow-shipping and networking with the city that watched him shatter the All-Time home run record. Willie Mays continues to thrive even at age 86, no allegations of bankruptcy or scandal. The game did not take much toll on his life and he competed for over two decades. Mays and Aaron were second and first when it came to All-Star game appearances. These are guys who put their blood, sweat, and tears into the game of baseball. Yet in still, they did not go bankrupt after leaving the sport and they also managed to maintain a portion of their wealth will continuously accumulating more wealth. Why can’t guys from the NFL have the same success?
A new list released in November 2016 mentions CTE in 90 of 94 brains of former and deceased NFL players. CTE, chronic traumatic encephalopathy is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes (and others) with a history of repetitive brain trauma, including symptomatic concussions as well as asymptomatic subconcussive hits to the head. Many of the players who make it to the league have dedicated their life to the game. Literally put their blood, sweat, and tears into the grind just to receive no rewards from their work. Often being liberated from poverty just by making it to the pros I honestly do not believe the NFL takes the correct approach to sustain their players. They bring them in like cattle work them to their breaking point. Forcing opioids and painkillers in their system by the boatload they do not allow time for proper healing and restoration. The NBA allow for their players to rest, the MLB does the same, even considering shortening the season, however the NFL insist on adding more games. Subsequently, they are not attempting to compensate the players for their blood, sweat, and tears. These players are essentially risking their lives while they watch players in other sports be nursed and pampered. Then NBA players have the audacity to call their sport a contact sport, come on man!
The NFL needs to take more initiative into player’s safety and their lives post-career. The net-benefit analysis for playing professional football does not seem as solid juxtaposed to other sports. If you combine all injuries, surgeries, and monetary stress that retired football players endure it may actually be smarter to invest $1,000 when you are 21 and watch it grow by the time you’re 65. At least you’ll have all of your marbles and potentially a million dollars. This is food for thought. Let me know what you think about this topic. Join the conversation via Twitter @Joy105 or @KyleC_Joy105, we would love to hear from you!
Featured Image: Philadelphia Eagles
Inset Image: YouTube