Cam Newton isn’t the most popular player in the NFL at the moment. For as many people that have praised him for evading pass-rushers, he has been equally bashed for making what some consider ignorant comments. Sufficing to say, people do not seem as interested in discussing the NFL picks against the spread as they are in bringing the Carolina Panthers Quarterback down a peg.
When questioned in a recent GQ interview about the viability of letting his children play Football, the NFL star’s answers were not only dangerous but rather ignorant.
Cam Newton is the father of an eight-month-old son. He said that the idea of parents keeping their children away from football made no sense to him, adding that he would send Chosen (his son) to the field with all the blessings in the world.
Zach Baron, the interviewer, to his credit, refused to let this particular bone go, making mention of the numerous medical studies that had revealed a link between brain injuries and football. Newton wasn’t particularly concerned, though, instead chastising many football naysayers for ignoring the joy the game can bring.
Sufficing to say, many will find Newton’s comments irritating. Certainly, there is a joy to be had on the football field, but only for those that survive its ravaging effects. The list of former NFL stars struggling with tormented post-career lives continues to grow every day, many of them fighting with brain trauma, others rushing to an early grave.
Former Pittsburgh Steelers safety Mike Webster spent his final days living in a pickup truck and struggling with a prescription drug addiction. Being the first NFL player to be diagnosed with CTE, Webster led the way for many more tragic stories
Dave Duerson so thoroughly enjoyed the game of football that the end of his career drove him to end his life. Interestingly enough, Dave chose to shoot himself in the chest, saying in a note that he wanted his brain intact so that it could be studied.
Dave was eventually diagnosed with CTE. Not long after that, Junior Seau (All-Pro linebacker) also shot himself in the chest. The link between the suicide and CTE were quickly made.
Of course, not all post-career stories are so tragic. However, degenerative brain disorders are fast becoming commonplace amongst former NFL stars. According to Boston University Researchers, almost all the NFL players they have examined have tested positive for CTE.
The idea that Newton thinks that the rewards of football outweigh the health hazards the game poses is disturbing. Maybe money is a far more powerful financial incentive that most people realize.
After all, the reigning NFL MVP made a whopping $12 million dollars last year, and this only from endorsements. Even considering the financial angle, though, Newton is recklessly choosing to disregard the dangers that football poses.
And he isn’t the only one. According to Commissioner Rodger Goodell, playing football is no more dangerous than sitting on a couch; though, Rodger’s cynical comparisons can be forgiven, but not the level of ignorance Newton showed in the GQ interview. Hopefully, other parents will not take Newton’s words as encouragement to send their children into the sport.