Shame on Bernie Kosar

by Steven Kollet

Kosar, as many have heard, was arrested on suspicion of DUI just a few days ago. But the story is not as open and shut as many cases of this type involving NFL players, past or present. No, this one has the added "conspiracy theory" that no doubt has been looming for some time. The reason for his failed test was, to the dismay of every doctor, previous player, and proponent for safety in the NFL, the injuries he suffered while playing football.

While the injuries he cited weren't of the C-word variety, he managed to spit out that he couldn't stand on one leg because "his line couldn't block." He alluded to the fact that he never fully recovered from surgeries he had endured during his NFL career. No word as to why he refused a breathalyzer, but this writer believes it's probably due to the fact that he was, dare I say it, drunk.

The legal proceedings regarding concussions and their potentially debilitating effects on living a normal life have been painful for all parties. Families of prior players are forced to relive the pain they felt for their loved ones who simply could not cope with life after the NFL, such as Junior Seau. This is not the way Junior would have wanted things to proceed. He gave his brain to science so that people would become aware of the dangers of playing in the NFL. He most certainly did not do so in order to enable people like Bernie Kosar to get out of a license suspension, a fine, or bad press.

This is the world we live in, however. People will take advantage of any situation they deem fit to do so. Players will lie to protect their legacy. People will even use others misfortune to better their own position. This, is the NFL today. The true question this poses, is where do we draw the line? Modern day gladiators, while extremely popular, are only slightly less gruesome than those people fawned over in Ancient Rome. Instead of killing each other instantly, football players actively try to hurt each other with the only weapons made available to them; Their helmets, their cleats, their knees, their shoulders, or all of the above.

We constantly crave the big hits, the electrifying plays, and the physical nature of football. Then people go complaining that players are overpaid. Players who forego normal lives to entertain us, often only living in the bright lights and fame for a few short years, and suffering effects for many years after. This is the world we live in, and it needs to change.

The biggest change that needs to be made is amending the amateurism standards of the NCAA. Football in college can be just as violent and demanding, and detrimental in the long-run for these players. This is evidenced by cases such as Eric LeGrand, a player who lost his ability to walk playing football. The kicker?

Eric was playing for an education only. A job, and I chose that word carefully, as college players are most certainly employed by their universities, that milks the players of future earnings potential by cornering their education to cupcake classes with no real deterrents to spending 80 hours a week on the practice field and 20 hours a week in the books. This is the world we live in, and I'm damn sure the Karma won't be of the good variety should we sit idly by and let these kids be exploited another year.

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