Monthly Archives: January 2013

The politics of brain injuries

This piece on Steve Largent and the concussion debate is profoundly saddening.  Largent spent some time as a Republican congressman, so it should come as no surprise that he’s a little Randian on the matter:

“If studies come out and show that playing football is detrimental to your health for the long term, even for the short term, I think that’s up to the players then to make the decision about whether they’re going to play or not play,” Largent said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Peter Cook for “Capitol Gains,” which airs Feb. 2.

“They should be armed with all of the latest statistics and information and research,” added Largent, who now represents the nation’s wireless industry as president of CTIA- The Wireless Association. “We don’t need the government telling people what they can and can’t do.”

Some of that is no doubt a knee-jerk reaction to Obama’s recent comments on the matter and some of it’s a downright naive assessment of the NFL’s readiness to take charge and make things right.   (Does anybody think Goodell would give a rat’s ass about the problem if it wasn’t for the threat of multiple lawsuits?  And last time I checked, Steve, a court ruling is the government telling people what they can and can’t do.)

But that’s not the depressing part.  This is.

Largent said he had multiple concussions throughout college and his NFL career, including one during his next-to-last season in which he was knocked unconscious before hitting the ground.

Largent said he’s “really curious” about the impact of concussions on NFL players and is currently participating in a study at the University of North Carolina. Largent also had a stroke at the age of 50 that he says the experts he’s consulted believe isn’t connected to his NFL career.

Largent considers himself fortunate to still be in relatively good health, running five or six miles every other day and playing tennis two to three times a week. Largent also said he remains the NFL’s “biggest fan,” despite lingering concerns about the head injuries he suffered as a player.

“The more studies that come out that talk about concussions and so forth, it makes me wonder,” Largent said. “I wonder, more importantly than the stroke, the impact that concussions have had on my life, particularly as I get older.”

Wow.  Does Largent think he was armed with all the latest research to make an informed decision at the time?  Of course he wasn’t, because it wasn’t an area of major concern then.  But now he trusts the NFL to make an honest effort to do so?  If that’s right, it’s only because it’s been pushed from outside.

Obama wasn’t threatening to seek legislation if the NCAA didn’t move forward on the issue.  But he was expressing a concern that enough wasn’t being done to provide player safety and that the NCAA needed to get off its ass and take charge or risk having others take control of the issue away from it.  If that’s government telling people what to do, maybe the NCAA needs to hear more of it.

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Filed under Political Wankery, The Body Is A Temple

Subpoena’s just another word for nothing left to lose.

Sweet Jesus, what is wrong with these people?

In what is a fairly shocking turn in an already shocking case, an NCAA investigator is defending the tactics used by the enforcement staff in the Miami/Nevin Shapiro case. Critically, the investigator claims that this is about NCAA policy at most, nothing more:

This NCAA investigator, who demanded anonymity, raised a different angle to that issue. It broke no law, he said. It didn’t involve a twisted ethical question, he said.

“There are a lot of us wondering just what the purpose of (Emmert’s news conference) was — and why it happened in the first place,’’ the investigator said.

When asked if there was an ethical question in an attorney using legal means to depose someone the NCAA otherwise couldn’t, the investigator was certain.

“This was good, investigative work,’’ he said.

The NCAA, raising making it up as you go along to an art form.

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Filed under The NCAA

Grantham breasts his cards.

Even the guy he just picked to coach his defensive line has no clue what his plans are.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Deregulation is just another word for more money.

The Big 12, which is a ten-team league that plays a round-robin schedule, is chafing under the repressive rule of Da Man.  At least that’s what its commissioner is saying.

“At a time when lots of deregulation is taking place, it seems a little bit odd that the NCAA would be describing how we determine our champions,” Bowlsby said Wednesday night, when he watched the Iowa State-Oklahoma State men’s basketball game.

“I think it’s reasonable to say if you’re going to have a champion that you’re going to have to designate it in one fashion or another. But to say it has to be between 12 schools or that there has to be divisional play or there has to be a round-robin, we’re deregulating lots of things and that certainly is a candidate.”

Freedom, bitchez!

This, of course, is utter nonsense.  Bowlsby just wants the extra revenue a conference championship would pull in.  Never mind that it would make the regular season meeting between the two finalists essentially meaningless – we fans should bask in the warmth of knowing that the heavy boot of NCAA repression was lifted and that conferences like the Big 12 could run as they damn well see fit.  Because that’s what college football is all about.

Hey, look at the bright side.  If the two teams split the two games, maybe they could face off again in the postseason for all the marbles.  Rematches are awesome if they pay well enough.

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Filed under Big 12 Football, The NCAA

“When you give 10 months, everyone is on eggshells.”

Looking back, giving John L. Smith a ten-month contract may not have been the smartest thing Jeff Long ever did.

In separate interviews with Sporting News, Haynes, who was the Razorbacks’ defensive coordinator last season, and Petrino, who was their offensive coordinator, said Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long made a mistake when he hired Smith to a 10-month contract last April, a couple of weeks after Bobby Petrino was fired amidst a personal scandal.

It was a mistake that bore such awkwardness and dysfunction within the program that both ex-coordinators—and Smith himself—believe some players eventually quit on the team.

Whether or not Smith was the right man for Arkansas at that time, he, Haynes and Paul Petrino say the duration of Smith’s contract had players convinced the entire staff wouldn’t be around in 2013, and that realization led some to tune out their coaches.

“I don’t think an A.D. should ever hire somebody for 10 months,” Paul Petrino said. “Players know what that means; they understand that. It hurts the power of the head coach and the assistants.

“They should’ve hired (Smith) for two years or hired someone else for two years, or just (expletive)-canned all of us.”

Not that I feel too sorry for Long.  It’s the risk you run when you hire a wandering soul like Bobby Petrino – and let’s not forget how the timing of that hire went down.

Karma is a beyotch.

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Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal

James Franklin renounces Satan and all his works… or something like that.

Seriously, what does this guy say when the cameras aren’t on him?

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Filed under James Franklin Is Ready To Rumble

Fights to the death, with a week to go

I think you guys know I don’t do the in the weeds analysis when it comes to recruiting.  There are plenty of places to go for that stuff, if you’re of a mind, and, besides, having raised three of my own, the idea of chasing a bunch of 17-year-olds around to learn their emotional state du jour lacks a certain zest.  Been there, done that.

But let it not be said that I’m not sensitive to reader issues.  A lot of you follow the process more closely than I do, so you might enjoy Bruce Feldman’s piece on the ten biggest recruiting battles taking place in the week leading up to signing day.  Georgia’s involved in four of them.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting