OTC: Seau’s Suicide Makes Us Pause & Reconsider Football’s Barbaric Essence…For Now

“It’s absolutely humbling that two of the best linebackers of my generation, dudes I covered are gone. Derrick Thomas and Junior Seau. Wow.”
Ivan Carter, IvanCarterCSN, after news broke that the former Chargers’ linebacker committed what appeared to be suicide in his home with a gunshot to his chest, Twitter
GH: Death takes the young and talented along with the old and frail. When the young and talented are also household names, it shocks us all.

“Still Thinking of Junior!! U Know 8 Players From 1994 Super bowl Team have died before Age 45.”
Bernie Kosar, @BernieKosarQB, former NFL QB, Twitter
GH: Most of these deaths to the 1994 Chargers’ team were not football related, but it does heighten the concern of NFL players’ sometimes violent and risk-taking off-field lives. Is it because of football or does football attract risk takers?

“There is a hard price to be paid for being in this league – and sometimes it is with your life.”
Jeff Chadiha, 810 AM
GH: Working at the post office can also result in depression and has been found to be a dangerous profession. Football is not a sport that makes sense. Sending bodies that have been maximized for strength and speed hurtling into each other with the goal of stopping each other is brutally dangerous and prehistoric. But it pays well. Very well. And so we have no shortage of victims for the Coliseum.

“Once you’re done, the league’s done with you. The NFL has some programs in place that in my opinion are very superficial. The NFL needs to get off their greedy asses and do more for former players.”
Jayice Pearson, 610 AM
GH: This is 1950’s thinking. Employers today do not offer pensions or insurance plans to former employers. If you happen to be part of a labor union, you may still benefit from this archaic practice. But depending on your employer to take care of you until your death is why so many industries find themselves insolvent.  

“The NFL is putting former players on COBRA! The NFL can bite my ass!”
Bob Fescoe, 610 AM
GH: My employer and most likely yours is legally bound to offer former employees COBRA to cover their insurance. Why should the NFL be any different? The NFL is a business, nothing more. When they act like a business, why is everyone so surprised? 

“The league is very serious about [head injuries]. I don’t know what we do. Somehow we’ve got to figure out the physics of this game.”
Mitch Holthus, 810 AM
GH: The NFL is serious about head injuries for no other reason than it is bad for their business. It creates a negative vibe about their product. There are no physics to figure out. Big people smashing into each other go boom. End of physics lesson. 

“Save your, ‘suicide is the coward’s way out’ for someone else. A) I don’t believe it to be relevant. B) I don’t believe it to be true. C) Shut up.”
Nick Wright, 610 AM
GH: Who knows why someone chooses suicide? Some act out of immediacy over a crisis involving love or finances. Some are clinically depressed and just want the pain to end. The only person who is not left to deal with the aftermath is the victim. For this reason, I often do not carry much of a torch for the guy or gal who checks out. While the pain ends for them, it haunts their loved ones forever.

“I don’t want to sound like an idiot but maybe we need to put a weight limit of the National Football League.”
Mitch Holthus, 810 AM
GH: Violent collisions happen at all levels of football, no matter what the weight of the combatants. Poor coaching in elementary school or the high school level causes more head injuries than the size of the players. The best way to reduce head injuries in football is to stop playing football.

“So many people in this league have so many problems, I don’t know how the league’s going to get its arms around it.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: It is an almost insurmountable problem for the NFL. Their customers demand bigger, faster and stronger yet it is these very qualities that place some of their players’ health in peril. Until the game can be played with the same entertainment value by robots or as a hologram, the problem will persist. And we will allow it to persist. 

and Twitter / greghall24

About Greg Hall

Software guy who has been writing my Off The Couch column in KC newspapers, publications and websites since 1994. Has been bounced from some of the finest media establishments this side of State Line Road. Dad first and everything else second...and there are a lot of everything elses.

49 Responses to OTC: Seau’s Suicide Makes Us Pause & Reconsider Football’s Barbaric Essence…For Now

  1. TangoAlphaLima says:

    I don’t understand those who call out the NFL for not offering more to their current and former players (i.e. Pearson and Fescoe). The NFLPA collectively bargains their contract with the league/owners. If players want something like help for former players or extended health insurance beyond their playing years, they need to bargain for it. But they negotiated the contract just last year and didn’t ask for these things. It seems disingenuous to put the blame squarely on the NFL’s shoulders.

  2. Jim says:

    Plug in firefighters, cops, lawyers, doctors, military personel, air traffic controllers, etc to any of the concerns of the NFL. All life’s adventures and choices come with a risk / reward factor. Lest we discuss hockey, NASCAR, boxing, et al. You can’t protect people from themselves or from life. Everyone pointing the finger at the NFL and the enablers, us fans. yeah, yeah. This too shall pass.

  3. OlatheCat says:

    At some point the NFL game changed from trying to tackle the guy with the ball to trying to hit him as hard as you can to try to knock him out of the game. There are no longer any fundamentals regarding tackling. It’s all about the big hits. I’d say take the armor off and then see if they’d rather try to tackle the guy with the ball or hit him like they do when they have the armor on. I know it’s unrealistic to think that could happen, but that’s what the game has become and I don’t think there’s any way to go back.

  4. Merle Tagladucci says:

    Move the chains.

  5. P says:

    The NFL should take 50% of each players signing bonus and salary and put it into a trust and not allow players access to it until they’re retired for 5 years or something….you know, protecting all these morons from themselves and investing in crap like roofing companies and dumb ass restaurants.

  6. Smartman says:

    Let’s put some concern where it belongs. Soldiers! Returning from Iraq and Afghanistan! In most cases these men and women volunteered for a dangerous, dirty and low paying job to help make the world a better and safer place for all of us. They come back sans body parts and in a wide variety of mental and emotional distress.

    Football players do it for the individual fame, the money, the glory and the pussy….or maybe some dick if they’re gay. The evidence is presented to them from the get-go. Sidelines are littered with lives wasted, torn and tormented by a career in the NFL.

    I don’t think the NFL should be in the business of draft day to grave health care but they do need to do more. The NFL knows more, LOTS MORE, than they are sharing about the long term effects on mind, body and soul of a career spent on the gridiron. If that’s not a FACT I will spend the rest of my life blowing people for 12 hours a day.

    Roger Goodell is a CUNT and so are some of the ball lickers at the NFLPA. Time for the FEDS to get involved, just like they did in boxing. I’m not even a lawyer but I’m sure I could draft up a RICO case against the NFL with a half-dozen OSHA violations as a kicker.

    The problem still remains that the meatheads that play the game all think they are indestructible and willingly ignore all the health risks in order to taste that 15 minutes of fame. Stupid is as stupid does.

    • Greg Hall says:

      Almost every interview I have heard with an ex-NFL player since Seau’s death includes the former player saying he would do it all over again, despite knowing what he knows. These are the same guys who are putting up their own money to take each other out with bounties. There is no educating the incurably dense.

  7. W Jones says:

    Everyone sure seems eager to jump to conclusions that Seau’s suicide was concussion related.

    • TangoAlphaLima says:

      Sure, it’s a better story than “Seau may have had a purely natural chemical imbalance or genetic disposition towards depression, thereby resulting in his suicide.”

      Also, did you hear about those Duke lacrosse guys? They totally raped that stripper…

      • Smartman says:

        $500.00 wager says when the fog clears this has something to do with football. You in?

        • TangoAlphaLima says:

          Sure, it may be, but the media shouldn’t be reporting the story as such before the facts are in. You could not get a credible medical opinion at this point telling you definitively that Seau’s NFL career caused his depression and subsequent suicide. It’s all speculation at this point, and it’s not unreasonable to assume that Seau may have had a predisposition to depression/suicide even if he had never played football.

          Also, Adam Schefter has reported Seau was never reported on the injury list as having suffered a concussion during his NFL career. That’s not to say he didn’t have head trauma, of course, but it certainly shows that his history of head trauma is somewhat uncertain at this point. Contrast Troy Aikman, for example. If Aikman had committed suicide, it would probably be pretty easy to blame it on his many reported concussions, even without a conclusive medical opinion.

          • Smartman says:

            And here begins the slippery slope. Given his style of play it’s incomprehensible to me that Junior never suffered a concussion. Let’s assume he NEVER did. What’s that tell you? Maybe even low level head trauma, sustained over a period of time can manifest itself in numerous ways down the road. There’s already an overwhelming body of medical evidence that suggests that. It may be circumstantial in the eyes of the NFL and their protectors but it’s very real. Seau’s death may be the key that opens the closet where the skeletons are in nickel package.

        • Mikey V says:

          Who Cares. Who Cares. Who Cares. Who Cares. They know what they are signing up for.

  8. MUC says:

    “I don’t want to sound like an idiot but maybe we need to put a weight limit of the National Football League.”
    Mitch Holthus, 810 AM

    If this is true then Mitch should not even open his mouth. Every single time he opens his trap he sounds like an idiot. Shut up and go “watch the tape”.

  9. JFP says:

    “My employer and most likely yours is legally bound to offer former employees COBRA to cover their insurance. Why should the NFL be any different? The NFL is a business, nothing more. When they act like a business, why is everyone so surprised?”

    My employer doesn’t pay me to get the shit beat out of me or for me to beat the shit out of anyone else…and furthermore, I’m not my employer’s product…in sports, the players are the product.

    Nobody pays $100 a ticket to watch the owner sit in his suite and drink scotch for 3 hours on Sundays.

    • George Wilson says:

      And neither your employer nor the NFL is forcing you to take the job. Every single player in the NFL signed his contract of his own free will. Heck, many of them are out there trying to physically damage their fellow employees.

      If the NFL suggested that each player’s current salary was reduced by enough to fund his lifetime health care, what do you think the players’ response would be? Lots of people like to point the finger at the owners for being greedy and not putting more of their share of the pie into health care. But who are we kidding? The players are making that same decision for the same reason – cash up front rather than care down the road.

      • JFP says:

        Yes, but, however, without the players, there is no league. The game, played by players, is the product.

        My original comment was to the fact that you can’t compare a job like playing pro sports to most, if any, other jobs.

        • kcredsox says:

          Without engineers and architects there would be no building, bridges, highways, etc. Your comment holds no water.

          • JFP says:

            My original comment was to the fact that you can’t compare a job like playing pro sports to most, if any, other jobs.

            You seem to have reading comprehension issues. Hope this helps.

  10. The Word says:

    “Employers today do not offer pensions or insurance plans to former employers.”

    Goverment anyone………

  11. Don says:

    Jayice Pearce has had his butt kissed his entire life because he was an athlete. He probably got laid anytime he wanted and never paid for a drink or dinner. Now he gets broadcasting gigs because he was a player, surely not because of his broadcasting talent (see Michael Coleman at KCTV). Even though he was well-paid as a player he still feels the NFL should pay his health benefits forever. He acts like he was forced to play the GAME!!
    These entitled spoiled brat millionaire athletes need to start living in the real world. Do you think Sprint or any other corporation gives you lifetime health benefits after they let you go? Stop blaming the NFL because Seau couldn’t deal with the real world the rest of us live in every day.

    • JFP says:

      How dangerous is it to work at Sprint?

      “These entitled spoiled brat millionaire athletes need to start living in the real world.”

      I’ll never understand what motivates this very common thought.

      • Don says:

        Why do you feel a need to kiss these jocks asses at every turn? I will guarantee that Junior was on steroids and HGH and probably cocaine and every other drug. He CHOSE to play football and would do it again.
        He chose to kill himself. Why don’t you stop sniffing jocks and see that roofers risk their lives more every day than any athlete.

        • kcredsox says:

          Makes ya wonder if JFP is Nick Wright huh?

          • JFP says:

            “Makes ya wonder if JFP is Nick Wright huh?”


            Oh, that’s so funny!


            You’re the best human ever!

        • JFP says:

          Who’s ass am I kissing at every turn? You’re the one with the anger and resentment issues.

      • P says:

        Actually, pretty dangerous. They tend to have lay offs annually, and then not provide those folks with healthcare….the fuckin’ nerve of that place.

  12. newbaum turk says:

    There is a way to end the concussions. It is the way Troy Aikman says to go and he’s right. Go back to leather helmets. I know it won’t happen but it is the only way these guys won’t use their helmets as guided missiles. I bet someone dies on the field in the next 5 years in the NFL. I would love to see how the brain injuries are divided between offense and defense. I would also like to see a study done on Australian Rules and rugby players regarding brain injuries. I bet it is a hell of a lot less.

  13. Rick says:

    WHY WON’T WE TALK ABOUT THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM???? I’ve listen to numerous radio segments about Junior’s deth. I’ve read articles via paper and net. Continual talk about head trauma and the impact on the brain.

    Ok so why weren’t guys in the 5and 60′s offing themselves from playing in there leather helmets and other poor equipment.

    The primary change in football in the past 20-25 years is not head trauma. Its STERIODS and Human Growth. But no one wants to speak how it might of played a part.

    Currently reading a book by former American Galdiator Dan Clark. Often in his roid haze he wanted to kill himself. Check it out and lits bring this into the discussion.

    • JP says:

      Your point about steroids and HGH is a valid one. Everyone is on the concussion witchhunt. Not that it is not a valid point, but every time someone dies, it is automatically presumed because of the trauma of hitting other players. What about the chemical change to the brain and blood system that occurs from steroid overusage. That’s what essentially killed Lyle Alzado. It is a very big elephant that no one wants to apply to Seau. He played in an era where steroid usage was hitting the maximum for football players.

      That being said, let’s see what the investigation concludes about Junior Seau. It is very sad, but the media tends to go one direction and is proven wrong constantly on every story. Couldn’t the guy just be bummed out about life.

  14. Larry Mondello says:

    I have no sympathy for an individual who is paid millions during a career yet can’t rub two nickles together when their playing days are over to pay for insurance or anything else. If these knuckleheads would live modestly, there is no way that they should not be able to make a couple million last an entire lifetime. I am 45 years old and still haven’t made that much money in 25 years of working. I have always figured out a way to pay my bills and medical insurance.

    Also, my best friend committed suicide 12 years ago….leaving behind a wife and 1 year old son. We all tried to help him but he chose to shoot himself in the head. I am still pissed at him for his COWARDICE.

    Sorry no sympathy here.

  15. chuck says:

    Here are the ten most dangerous jobs in America.

    1) Fisher and fishing related jobs.
    2)Logging workers.
    3)Aircraft pilots and engineers.
    4)Farmers and Ranchers
    5)Coal Miners
    7)Garbage men and recylists
    8)Truck Drivers
    9)Law Enforcement
    10) Electrical Power Line Installers and Repairers (Thats ME!)

    Gimme a fuckin break with this shit.

    The guy pulled in a phone number for playing a game, reaped all the rewards and then killed himself with three kids still on his dime.

    We all take sports too seriously. Jesus, if they quit playing football, I will bet on somehting else, and then go to work and risk my life while in my dotage and if I get lit up by some 3 phase shit drawing some major voltage and fall off a fuckin roof, then smartman, you can have access to my NFL files for the coming year ( I am shooting for a 75% * 25% win loss this year.)

    Every day is a risk, and eventually teh Harlequin will be grinnin over your corpse. Until then, I suggest we move on. If and when football jumps the shark, we will all be ok.

    Remember the day Derrick Thomas died? I don’t, but I bet I had lunch anyway.

  16. chuck says:

    By the way, smartman is right, I actually do grieve for my fellow Vets, 50,000 of them, who have come home thru Walter Reed with horrific injuries.

    I think about them every day.

    Football is just football.

  17. chuck says:

    One last thing.

    If smarmy little Nick Wright was anymore condescending, I am pretty sure in some dimension, in some place in time and space, we can all punch his dumb ass right thru the fuckin radio.

  18. Guy Who Says What Others Think says:

    Nick is leaving 610

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