Psyched Online

Follow The Money

I woke up this morning and started reading my Saturday New York Times sports section. After going through a piece on Warren Moon, a cemetery in Colma, CA near San Francisco, Zika virus and its potential impact on soccer in the upcoming Olympics, etc., I came across an article titled “Goodell Insists Sport Is Safe: ‘There’s Risk in Life.” I was dumbstruck by the remarkable insight of Mr. Goodell. It was so simple, pragmatic and elegant. Being trained as a psychologist and having read Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Charles Darwin, etc., you would think I would have been informed already regarding the deep idea that there is a risk in life. Sarcastically, speaking of course!

Mr. Goodell, the National Football League Commissioner, noted that the research now underway regarding football player safety indicates the sincere concern the league has for the health of the players. I am moved. I’m not indicating in which direction. A fact that the Commissioner didn’t mention is that the league tried to block research on the neurological impact of playing football. He is busy in that it is Super Bowl time. The owners of the Football Teams and Goodell, their spokesperson tried to block life and death information from getting out to the players and parents across the country. When Mr. Goodell was confronted with these attempts to keep everyone from being informed about the dangers to the players’ lives he said, “There’s Risk in Life.” It’s hard not to be moved. Of course, I didn’t say in what directions.

If athletes want to play a game they love, knowing the risks involved in that decision, it is on them. Maybe they do it because they love the game, they are drawn to competition, want to win a Championship, play on a team, make a lot of money, etc. It is there right to choose to play or not. Their rights are taken away however when these players are not intentionally not informed of the dangers they face in making that choice. This is what choice is! Informed consent!

If someone in authority intentionally keeps athletes or potential athletes from making informed decisions regarding their health and life, then there people are guilty of a crime. Maybe it is a little overstated, but it would be like the Army didn’t inform potential soldiers that they could face situations where their life was at risk. What if the Army said, “Oh, don’t worry. You won’t get hurt on this battlefield.” I know it sounds ridiculous. But, it makes the point. And what is the risk to the Owners of NFL teams if the players are not informed of the danger. None really until it effects their money. If players don’t play, if the parents stop their children from playing, the supply of good athletes decrease, their stadiums are filled with less fans, and maybe they go to prison, there will be motivation to do research and inform everyone. One of the lines in All The Presidents Men was “Follow The Money.” It is the one factor that will undoubtable have an impact. Too late for Kenny Stabler.