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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Pro Football

     The NFL made quick work of disciplining the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers when both teams were hit with a $250,000 fine for the brawl that erupted with eight seconds to play in the game on 11-14. Of course for pro football teams a quarter of a million dollars is chump change, but at least it's a gesture. 
     Cleveland’s defensive end Myles Garrett ripped the helmet off Steelers' quarterback Mason Rudolph and beat him over the head with it, sparking a brawl that descended into chaos as players from both sides spilled onto the field. It was claimed that Garrett could have killed Rudolph...what if he'd hit in him the temple? 
     Pittsburgh's Maurkice Pouncey punched Garrett and kicked him in the head after Garrett had been thrown to the ground and was being held down. 

     The NFL suspended Garrett indefinitely (at least for the rest of the season, including any playoff games). Pouncey was suspended three games and Cleveland's Larry Ogunjobi, who pushed the quarterback from behind, was suspended one game. 
     Pouncey is considered a “hero” for defending his teammate. I am not sure how kicking somebody in the head after they have been wrestled to the ground and are being held down if defending somebody. If the police had done it, it would be considered police brutality. 
     Naturally, nobody involved thinks they did anything wrong and they are all appealing their punishment. 
     I don’t watch professional football. While it’s true the arrest rate among the 1,700 NFL players is lower than the national average, the average days between arrests for NFL players is 7 days and the top reasons for arrests are DUI, drugs, domestic violence, assault and disorderly conduct. They are not nice people. 
    The main objection I have is their childish behavior. Any “accomplishment”, a tackle, a touchdown, and intercepted pass, anything is cause for a stupid dance, chest bump or other immature behavior you would expect to see from a six year old. 
     I suspect a lot of this is the result of early chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a brain disorder caused by repeated head injuries. CTE is most often found in athletes who have experienced repeated head injuries, such as former boxers, hockey players, and football players. The changes progress and worsen over time, and may not be noticed for months, years, or decades. Common symptoms include memory loss, impaired judgment, aggression, and depression. Some of former athletes have committed suicide or murder.  
     Watching over-paid boys who can’t control their emotions and who off field have been guilty of such things as abusing women, abusing animals, starting fights, drinking, carrying guns and using drugs is not something that interests me. 
     But that's just me. Every society has had a high tolerance for brutality in sports...the ancient Romans and their gladiators, throwing Christians to the lions, Elizabethan England's bear baiting, dog fights and gladiatorial combat involving chimps, etc, Spanish bullfighting are just a few examples.  Viewed historically pro football isn't all that bad I guess.

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