Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sympathy for the Devils


Imagine the scene. Police walk in, they see the body of a man who has hung himself. A woman is bound and strangled to death. Then the body of a seven year old boy, strangled as well. It sounds straight out of a horror movie. This was the scene of the double murder-suicide committed by professional wrestler Chris Benoit. It's a story that is seen as the tipping point for experts and ex-athletes who have called for action for the protection of players. It is what ex-wrestler Christopher Nowinski has made a career out of.

Nowinski and others have been pleading for years that something needs to be done about the dangers football players and other athletes face. The concussions, the violence. It all leads to dementia, Alzheimer's, brain damage, etc. It's the evil leagues that have no sympathy for the players. The NFL lets old linebackers wither and die. Major League Baseball turned the other cheek while players were destroying their own bodies. This is what men like Nowinski claim.

But here's the reality: it's the players' own unions that are killing them. As was seen by many people, including myself in September of 2007, a test for HGH was coming, and the unions wouldn't like it. Well, the test is here, and according to the NFL Players Union, "at this point, there's no reason to believe that blood-testing for NFL players will or should be implemented."

Actually, there are reasons. It's the same reasons why Benoit murdered his family and countless ex-NFL players have committed suicide. The same reasons why Nowinski thinks the NFL is the devil. Contact sports can literally kill you. Now multiply that by 100 when you add HGH in the picture. The hits are harder and the after effects are more damaging. But the Union's stance? They don't want it.

The NFL wants it. Roger Goodell wants it. For as much criticism that the league gets, it's really the Players Union that could care less. And for what? So it won't come out publicly that many of the league's stars are using the same drugs that Chris Benoit used? That would be just as damaging to the NFL itself, not just the players. But they are willing to accept that trade. The Union isn't. The only protection they are interested in is financial protection.

So the next time you hear about some old player dangling from his ceiling or drooling over himself at age 45, don't just attack the leagues. Ask yourself, what are the unions doing to prevent this? The answer: absolutely nothing.

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