Terry Bradshaw dropped in for a visit with his buddy Jay Leno last night. Unlike most visits where TB is content to play the loveable yokel character he’s been perfecting ever since his memorable cameo in The Cannonball Run, this time we were treated to a rare appearance of his thoughtful and serious side. Naturally, the comment from Bradshaw which is getting the most play in media soundbites was his statement that he wouldn’t let his son play football.
Well, if he had a son. He does have two daughters, including the perplexingly hot Rachel Bradshaw, who like almost every other daughter of somebody rich and/or famous, is an aspiring singer. I’ve never actually heard her sing so I won’t speculate on her succeeding where such luminaries as Paulina Gretzky and Brooke Hogan have failed. In Rachel’s favor, though, her daddy actually had some pretty decent pipes back in the day.
TB isn’t the first notable to say they wouldn’t want their kid playing football due to all the injury concerns. Kurt Warner recently said he wouldn’t let his son play. Tom Brady‘s dad noted he didn’t let young Dreamboat play until he was 14 and had he known the danger posed by concussions, he may not have let Tommy play at all. I dunno, man, I might be willing to risk a little brain damage if it guaranteed me a shot at a phat-assed Brazillian super model.
Anyway, lost in the media’s obsession with one sentence sound bites is that Brad went on to say some really intelligent things about the NFL’s current handling of the concussion crisis. To wit, he stated what we all know but nobody affiliated with the league (outside of James Harrison) has had the balls to say which is they’re only cracking down on head injuries now because they’re being sued. The NFL, like all sports leagues, sees their players as disposable resources. They use one up and then bring in another to replace him.
Sports leagues have never cared about player rights, post-career health, or safety. Just like professional wrestling, which only enacted a drug testing program after one of its stars went on a kill crazy rampage, all sports leagues ignore problems until they’re forced to deal with them. The NBA doesn’t care if their refs are degenerate gamblers until one gets caught fixing games. MLB doesn’t care that half the players are juiced up ‘roid freaks until Congress starts asking questions. And the NHL doesn’t care about concussions until the best player in the world gets, oh who we kidding, the NHL still doesn’t really care about concussions.
A lot of people are snickering over Bradshaw’s later comment that violent sports like hockey and football will “slowly phase away,” in the future while soccer, baseball, and basketball get bigger because they’re safer. I think that idea, which echoes a similar one made by fellow Fox broadcaster Troy Aikman, is a bit overblown. However, in these reactionary times, where the mayor of New York City is trying to ban Big Gulps because people are too damn fat, it would be foolish to think if a high profile football player pulled a Chris Benoit that it wouldn’t trigger a huge backlash that ultimately damaged football’s popularity. Let’s just hope it never comes to that.