I was going to title this, "Is the NFL too big to fail?" (which I'll explain below), but decided to go for the titillation factor. But first, you really should see this episode of Frontline on PBS (available online). Also, read this article in The New Yorker from Malcolm Gladwell.
How is the NFL like the pornography business? Both are confronted with the challenge of maintaining interest in their subjects while taking adequate precautions to protect their employees. In California, the porn business is required to have its performers wear condoms, but that is unpopular with the consumers of its product. And now the NFL faces increasing calls to reduce the concussions and impacts that lead to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), but risk losing viewers in the process. Of course, the big difference is the sheer scale of revenue generated by the NFL, versus the meager size of the pornography business. Ergo, the question: Is the NFL too big too fail?
When facing story after story about former NFL stars, from Troy Aikman to Tony Dorsett, being unable to remember simple things, and suicides that seem tied to this injury, will the NFL be able to survive in its current incarnation? Perhaps the decision will be made for them when high schools start seeing dwindling numbers of students willing, or not permitted to, risk life-altering brain damage in hopes of making it as a professional?
• NFL Fans Weigh Impact Of Players' Head Injuries - NPR
• NFL is a despicable league that we should say goodbye to, but won't - LA Times
There are many facets to this story, and I welcome any additional links to articles or videos that support or refute the premise. But how does a civilized society condone or endorse a practice that is likely to result in permanent brain damage? Will the sport be able to change enough to provide sufficient protection without sacrificing the very essence of that which makes it a popular sport?
Even if you're not a football fan, there is plenty to debate and discuss about the fate of the NFL as it relates to society at large. So, come to our usual watering hole at the IHOP near LAX for a night of deep thinking. It's been a while, and it's time we returned to our monthly meetings.
I hope to see you there!