Are NFL and College Football As We Know Them About To End?

July 2, 2010   ·     ·   Jump to comments

And the culprit will be chronic traumatic encephalopathy (or CTE).
I first learned about CTE after reading a Malcolm Gladwell piece in the New Yorker where he argued that football and a dog fighting are fundamentally the same .
Gladwell’s comparison is, of course, specious. And unfortunate, because it obscured, for me, the most interesting aspects of the story: CTE, and its implications for the game we love.
Football players, unlike pit bulls, have free will, we don’t engage in massive genetic engineering to create them (culling those who don’t come out to specifications), and we don’t execute players outside the stadium with a shotgun if they don’t play well. Marv Marinovich excepted. We pay the best handsomely and don’t house them in kennels, half-starving. There are extant societal and social pressures, to be sure, but football players, unlike pit bulls, are possessed of free will.
We can dismiss...

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