Jamal Adams thinks a football field is the “perfect place to die.”
Those who have been touched by the ravages of degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) would like to remind him the end might not be nearly that glamourous.
Via Christian Red of the New York Daily News, the ex-wife of the late Steelers offensive lineman Justin Strzelczyk had some harsh words after hearing the Jets rookie’s remarks.
“I don’t even know what to say,” said Keana McMahon. “This guy [Adams] doesn’t know what’s coming down the pipeline. He has no idea what dealing with someone who has CTE is like.”
McMahon divorced Strzelczyk nine months before his fiery death, which happened when the 36-year-old drove his truck into oncoming traffic on the New York Thruway and into a tractor trailer.
McMahon had been married to him for eight years, and described the mood swings and unusual behavior that has been linked to CTE. She said their two children have been badly scarred by his death, despite the fact they were often scared of his behavior.
“I bet my kids would want their father here,” McMahon said. “I know in my heart of hearts that Justin would have wanted to see his daughter get married someday or see his son graduate from college, not dying on a football field. To me [Adams] is sh—ing on Justin’s grave.”
While the 21-year-old Adams was likely making a populist point rather than a medical one (as evidenced by the applause after his remark), it’s still jarring to hear. But it’s particularly so for those who have been touched by the ugly reality of what brain disease can do to former players, long after the cheers have faded.