By Ken Reed

Austin Murphy has an article in Sports Illustrated’s huge NFL preview issue (August 29-September 5 edition) called “Endgame.” The article looks at the possibility that football, as we know it, could be on its deathbed. The reason? The growing mound of research on football and and the negative health effects resulting from repetitive blows to the brain.

The article is a major breakthrough for those looking to increase awareness and understanding regarding the health dangers of football. Giant sports media companies like Sports Illustrated and ESPN have been reticent to take any strong stands regarding the long-term viability of American football, especially at the youth and high school levels.

Murphy and sports economist John Vrooman suggest in the piece that scared and angry moms might be the ones that ultimately take football down. Think about the power the organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has had.

Murphy writes that:

“… the biggest threat to America’s national pastime is not the rising popularity of soccer, nor the chronic gaffes and serial dissembling of the NFL when the subject of head injuries arises. It is the formidable power of one of the most awesome collective forces in nature: concerned mothers.”

Vrooman, a professor at Vanderbilt, thinks it would be ironic “if the mighty, macho monopoly power of the NFL cartel was ultimately taken down by the holistic, protective feminine wisdom of soccer moms united.”

Buffalo Bills general manager Doug Whaley is quoted in the article as saying football is “a violent game that I personally don’t think humans are supposed to play.”

His candor wasn’t appreciated by the football establishment but his honesty is refreshing.

In his article, Murphy creates a futuristic scenario in which he imagines what America without tackle football might look like.

His concluding sentence?

The more Americans learned about the true price for their once-beloved game, the less they were willing to pay it.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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