Am I the only one whose interest in the NFL is wavering after hearing of Junior Seau’s apparent suicide?
It is being reported everywhere that his body was found in his California beachfront home, a gun near the body of the 43-year-old retired linebacker.
According to most reports, he died of a gunshot wound to the chest. That brought up immediate comparisons to the February 2011 death of former Chicago Bears safety Dave Duerson, according to NPR.
Before shooting himself in the chest, the NPR report continues, Duerson wrote a note asking that his brain be studied for chronic traumatic encephalopathy — a disease linked to depression.
Pro football players are bigger and stronger and faster than ever. The epic collisions of players who are so big and so fast make for great television. It’s no accident that the NFL is far and away the nation’s most-popular spectator sport.
But the concussions and other injuries that may result from these collisions are making me wonder if pro football is something I want to continue watching.
In addition to Duerson, NPR says former Atlanta Falcon Ray Easterling committed suicide last month. He was part of a lawsuit against the NFL over head injuries and was suffering from dementia. He shot himself in the head in Richmond, Va., according to NPR.
Easterling, 62, played in the 1970s and I don’t remember him. But Duerson played for a Bears team that won the Super Bowl when I was in high school. And Seau, who played 13 of his 20 years in the NFL for the San Diego Chargers, graduated from the University of Southern California in 1990 — the year after I graduated from college.
That’s hitting really close to home.
Something has to be done to better protect players from these injuries. I wouldn’t say the NFL is doing nothing, but maybe it will move a little faster to find a solution if enough of us quit watching.
It’s something I can’t help but consider.