About a year before he committed suicide, former Falcons defensive back Ray Easterling sent an e-mail to former Giants linebacker Harry Carson, asking Carson to continue to advocate for himself and other players who were struggling to deal with brain injuries and other health problems in retirement. Carson knew from that e-mail that Easterling was in bad shape, and after Easterling killed himself, Carson said he blames the game.
“I hold the game of football responsible,” Carson told Gary Myers of the New York Daily News.
Carson noted, however, that the problem of brain injuries in football goes beyond the NFL and extends to all levels of football. And although Carson supports the former players who are suing the NFL over concussions, he personally hasn’t joined those suits.
“I feel like I am a messenger,” Carson said. “If I join a lawsuit, then people will say, ‘You see Harry Carson joined the lawsuit, so whatever he says carries no weight, he’s going in it for the money.’ I feel I don’t want my message to be tainted.”
Carson, who posted an edited version of the e-mail from Easterling on his website, said he now wishes he could have done more for a fellow player he didn’t know personally but did know was in need of help.
“In some ways, we all failed him,” Carson said. “He took the action he felt he needed to take.”