By Paul Evers and Amanda Stickels, sports editor and executive online editor
In a recent radio interview with Buffalo radio station WGR 550, Buffalo Bills’ GM Doug Whaley stated that football is, “a violent game that I personally don’t think humans are supposed to play.” Whaley has since issued a statement saying he “used a poor choice of words,” during that interview. His original words however bring a question back into the national spotlight: is football a sport that should be played? Even with numerous safety precautions and changes made in football from Pop Warner to the NFL, tragic injuries still occur on the football field. In the past few years, football’s problem with CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) has been thrust into the national spotlight. This has caused players and fans alike to question the long-term impact football has on the human mind and body. Paul Evers and Amanda Stickels give their takes on whether football should be continued to be played, or if the short and long-term health risks are too much for any human playing football.
Paul Evers: Football is obviously a violent sport and that’s why a lot of people love it. However, this sport can leave you crippled (just look at the amount of cases of paralysis because of football, one specifically being Donnovan Hill) or mentally unstable (look at the sad cases of players with CTE such as Junior Seau, Dave Duerson and Ken Stabler). Those kinds of results sound like the effects on a soilder after war, not an athlete after a career. In football’s current form, it shouldn’t be played. The sport affects too many after their careers are over, causing them to have a hard time getting through life for years to come. Continuing to sweep the issue under the rug will just see it grow, causing a larger standoff between the NFL and its former players.
Amanda Stickels: I hear it literally every single day from my grandfather: “There are so many injuries going on in football. I don’t think that it’s going to be around anymore.” As much as I love my grandfather, he’s dead wrong. Football is not going away. According to the Chicago Tribune, the renovations on Soldier Field in 2003 cost $690 million. Taxpayers paid for this. Absolutely none of them would be okay with all that money going down the drain because the NFL decided to end football. The players are also paid too much money and are too famous to end it all. I don’t think that the highest paid player in 2016, Aaron Rodgers ($22 million), will blend in as another face on the street. Football is not going away any time soon. The 1,800 employees in the NFL and the 114.4 million US viewers of Super Bowl XLIX will make sure of that. Sorry, Grandfather. Football is here to stay.