Weekend open thread: Football blues

I’m not a big football fan, but NFL Hall of Famer Junior Seau’s suicide is on my mind this weekend. Seau apparently shot himself in the chest, and his family will donate his brain to be studied for signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. That disease has affected many retired NFL players, including at least two others who committed suicide in recent years. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy was found in one former Cincinnati Bengals player who died at age 26. One of the league’s most notorious underperforming high draft picks showed signs of frontal lobe brain damage as a middle-aged man.

Last week Hawkeyes fans celebrated another solid year for University of Iowa players in the NFL draft. Meanwhile, Superbowl champion quarterback Kurt Warner says he would prefer that his sons not play football. I feel fortunate that my sons have never showed any interest in that sport. The NFL is trying to punish excessive violence on the field, but I don’t know whether it’s possible to separate chronic head injuries from the way the game is played.

This is an open thread: all topics welcome.

About the Author(s)


  • and this afternoon......

    …the Barnstormers have an important game against division leading Chicago….

    Check out UStream for the life feed of the game!


  • NYT interview with Marsha Ternus

    The New York Times has an interview with former Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Marsha Ternus:


  • Poor Junior

    May he rest in peace. He won’t be the last player, I’m afraid, who will decide to end his life, and in such a way that the manner of death will preserve the brain for study.  I love pro football, but now I’m feeling guilty about it. Roman circuses.

    • the NYT ethics column

      explored this question a few weeks ago, and one of my Facebook friends was just saying something similar: feeling guilty about being a football fan, in light of all the life-altering injuries. I imagine a lot of people are having those feelings. The NFL seems to be trying to do something, but I’m not sure the response is proportionate to the problem.