Author Topic: Why Are So Many Young Black Athletes Killing Themselves?  (Read 8404 times)

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Re: Why Are So Many Young Black Athletes Killing Themselves?
« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2012, 06:52:25 am »
NEW YORK TIMES:


December 3, 2012
Pro Footballís Violent Toll
By FRANK BRUNI
Pro football left me with a neck injury. Watching pro football, I mean. At least three of the games that started at 1 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday went thrillingly down to the wire, two of them bleeding into overtime, and as I sat in a sports bar jerking my gaze from the television showing the Colts to the one with the Seahawks to the one with the Rams, I suffered mild whiplash. I ache as I write.

The whole 2012 season has been like that: seesaw contests, last-minute heroics. The spectacle presented by the National Football League has perhaps never been better.

Or uglier. And on Sunday, there was also a reminder of that, the overtime games overshadowed by the anguished examination of a murder-suicide, just a day earlier, involving the Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher. Belcher, 25, shot and killed his 22-year-old girlfriend, then himself. They left behind a baby girl, Zoey. Chiefs players are already talking about a fund for her. Thatís apt, but they should be talking about a whole lot else as well.

Thereís something rotten in the N.F.L., an obviously dysfunctional culture that either brings out sad, destructive behavior in its fearsome gladiators or fails to protect them and those around them from it. And while itís too soon to say whether Belcher himself was a victim of that culture, itís worth noting that the known facts and emerging details of his story echo themes all too familiar in pro football over recent years: domestic violence, substance abuse, erratic behavior, gun possession, bullets fired, suicide.

His death was the most stunning N.F.L. news of the last few days, but not the only peek into a world of tortured souls and crippled bodies. In The Times, Judy Battista reported that this year would be a record one for drug suspensions in the league, a result in part of an apparent rise in the use of the stimulant Adderall. The record could reflect heightened vigilance by league officials, but still: the high stakes, physical demands and physical agony inherent in pro football indisputably encourage drug taking, and some oft-medicated players graduate to years of addiction problems.

The scientific journal Brain just published a study by Boston University investigators of 85 people who had received repeated hits to their heads while they were alive and were examined posthumously for degenerative brain disease. Sixty-eight of those people had such disease, which can lead to mood swings, dementia, depression. Fifty of them had played football, 33 in the N.F.L., including Dave Duerson, the former Chicago Bears safety who shot himself fatally in the chest last year after sending his ex-wife a text message requesting that his brain tissue be analyzed for football-related damage.

The studyís publication follows the consolidation earlier this year of more than 100 lawsuits involving more than 3,000 former N.F.L. players and their families, who accuse the league and its official helmet maker of hiding information about the relationship between injuries on the field and brain damage. It also follows the revelation this year that the New Orleans Saints engaged in a bounty program by which defensive players got extra money for knocking opponents out of games.

In May the former San Diego Chargers linebacker Junior Seau, a veritable legend whom Iíd known for years as Nemesis No. 1 of my beloved Denver Broncos, shot and killed himself, and in a heartbreaking assessment of his demise five months later, the San Diego Union-Tribune noted that ďwithin two years of retiring, three out of four N.F.L. players will be one or more of the following: alcohol or drug addicted; divorced; or financially distressed/bankrupt. Junior Seau was all three.Ē

In the same article, the newspaper reported that the suicide rate for men who have played in the N.F.L. is nearly six times the national average.

The Union-Tribune maintains a database of N.F.L. players arrested since 2000. The list is long, and the league is lousy with criminal activity so varied it defies belief. The quarterback Michael Vick of course staged inhumane dog fights; the wide receiver Plaxico Burress accidentally shot himself in the leg with a gun heíd toted illegally into a nightclub; the wide receiver Dez Bryant was accused of assaulting his own mother.

How all of this misfortune and all of these misdeeds do and donít relate to one another isnít clear. But to be an N.F.L. fan these days is to feel morally conflicted, even morally compromised, because youíre supporting something that corrodes too many lives.

The Chiefs quarterback Brady Quinn said on Sunday that Belcherís bloody end left him wondering ďwhat I could have done differently.Ē Thatís a question that everyone in the N.F.L. should mull.

And we fans must demand it. On Monday morning, what didnít feel right wasnít just my neck, but also my conscience.

Offline Vic Vega

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Re: Why Are So Many Young Black Athletes Killing Themselves?
« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2012, 07:00:35 am »
Surprisingly, I agree with Jason Whitlock on this.


Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

I heard Costas got slammed by the usual suspect for even bringing up gun control.

Offline sherelled

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Re: Why Are So Many Young Black Athletes Killing Themselves?
« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2012, 08:52:39 am »
I awoke this morning re- thinking the Sunday NFL games and going over in my mind the violence, the hard hitting helmet to helmets and the penalties that incur when something like that is intentionally done. Which for all intent and purposes is the NFL's way of "protecting" the player. However, getting hit 12, 13 weeks of the year has no other penalty except brain and body destruction. Yes, this is a Gladiator sport. Yes, these gladiators get paid lots of money to do what they do. But like the veterans that come back from the violence of war, they are damaged. Sooner or later the damage takes a tole. We are just now acknowledging the impact of the knocks to the head. Imagine players of years gone by? They did not have the sophistication of the "helmets" that players have today. WOW! what a terrible thing to have to live with. When a greyhound dog can no longer race they put them up for adoption to a loving family. They treat them with respect, and kindness. I have this question for the rich, owners of the league teams, "Are you going to let a player/gladiator get treated with respect and kindness after performing for you?" Or let them suffer of which in the animal world specifically horses they are euthanized and put out of their misery? :-X

Offline Battle

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Re: Why Are So Many Young Black Athletes Killing Themselves?
« Reply #18 on: December 04, 2012, 02:01:01 pm »
I have this question for the rich, owners of the league teams, "Are you going to let a player/gladiator get treated with respect and kindness after performing for you?" Or let them suffer of which in the animal world specifically horses they are euthanized and put out of their misery? :-X



It's funny you should ask that...

On the Russ Parr radio show  around my way, that following Monday morning, angry fans called in and expressed that instead of Mr. Belcher blowing himself away in front of his Masters coach and general manager, he should've blown them away...

...and then kill himself.

Offline Hypestyle

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Re: Why Are So Many Young Black Athletes Killing Themselves?
« Reply #19 on: December 05, 2012, 02:00:11 pm »
this story just gets more bizarre as time goes on-- http://www.freep.com/usatoday/article/1746603?odyssey=obinsite
Be Kind to Someone Today.

Offline Kristopher

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Re: Why Are So Many Young Black Athletes Killing Themselves?
« Reply #20 on: December 06, 2012, 07:28:24 am »
Surprisingly, I agree with Jason Whitlock on this.


Me too. Except this part:"What I believe is, if he didnít possess/own a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today." Don't need a gun to kill. Did they ban the sale of knives or other weapons? Last year, Seattle Mariners outfielder Greg Halman was stabbed to death by his brother.

Offline Curtis Metcalf

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Re: Why Are So Many Young Black Athletes Killing Themselves?
« Reply #21 on: December 06, 2012, 09:59:08 am »
Surprisingly, I agree with Jason Whitlock on this.


Me too. Except this part:"What I believe is, if he didnít possess/own a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today." Don't need a gun to kill. Did they ban the sale of knives or other weapons? Last year, Seattle Mariners outfielder Greg Halman was stabbed to death by his brother.

Sure. Or he could have just strangled her. But that's a whole different level of rage than simply squeezing a trigger. After all, this didn't seem like a premeditated act. If he could have gotten past the initial swell of rage, maybe they would be alive. We'll never know.
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