Ex-wife of NFL player who had CTE appalled at Jamal Adams’ comments

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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.

58 responses to “Ex-wife of NFL player who had CTE appalled at Jamal Adams’ comments

  1. I will bet probably half the people over 50 have cte or the beginning of dementia. They are also not making a million dollars a week. If a player thinks that there is nothing dangerous about football they are crazy and delusional. But they are paid to play and they can go work at mcdonalds for 9 dollars a hour instead.

  2. Young people believe they are bullet proof and can maintain whatever “celebrity” status they have forever. Given that the average stint in the NFL is less than four years, the end of a dream coupled with CTE must be devastating.

    I agree with Ms. McMahon’s grave comment. Many condolences to her and her children.

  3. Can we please lighten up and not take a excited you man so literally? Football aside, is he the only young man who feels invincible? Talk to any young person and you would realize very quickly, they have no sense of their mortality. Nor should they. That comes with age and perspective.

  4. How dare he state what he wouldn’t wouldn’t mind happening with his own life without considering the thoughts and feelings of the other 7.5 billion people on this planet! What’s this world coming too!?

    He should try to be more like me, who always considers the feewings of 7.5 billion people before I talk and has NEVER said anything that would upset anyone else. The view from my high horse is amazing.

    -Keana McMahon

  5. Do you think he is in heaven caring about what his ex-wife thinks? Every warrior culture has a variation on “today is a good day to die” or “those of us about to die salute you.” Everyone ends up dead. His point was at least it’s doing something he loves

  6. C’mon. Give us a break. People aren’t being serious every second of their lives. The kids were just being silly. Our president says offensive things all the time, and then he says he was just kidding. I don’t blame the guys wife. If a woman lost her husband in a Indy 500 race, she probably wouldn’t want to hear young drivers saying they’d love to die out on the track. It’s not as if these two young players walked up to Keana McMahon and said what they said. You can say anything, and 1 % of the people will be offended. Maybe we should all just stop talking.

  7. Jamal was expressing his passion for the game. God forbid someone love what they do for a living. Maybe as a society we prefer people to take soul crushing 9-5 jobs that they hate and stay in a cubicle all day? That’s much healthier.

    I respect Jamal’s answer, and his love and passion for the game.

  8. Yeah, the NFL OFFICES AT 345 PARK AVE. are just shocked too….so much so that they decided to recind the millions they promised to pay for the research on the long term effects concussions have on its players because they couldn’t control the people in charge of the research & their actual TRUTHFUL FINDINGS as opposed to how they wanted it to play out…..
    Bottom line, the NFL could truly care less about its players long term health issues…..

  9. For those of us who don’t live our lives in PC la-la-land, his comments weren’t taken so seriously. Nobody forced your husband to play professional football.

  10. I cringed when I read the comments by the Jets about “dieing on the field.” Talk to some of the older guys who have been through it and are limited with their lifestyle after football.

  11. Seems a bit silly. The ratio of ex-players that don’t Have violent post playing careers has to be like 1000-1. While CTE is a big deal her ex husbands behavior is the exception and not the rule.

  12. Lady, I’d saying the field is a better place to to die than in a truck, going the wrong way down the road and hitting a semi head on.
    If anyone was sh-ing on anything, it was your ex husband sh-ing on the value of all the lives he put in danger while driving is sorry a** to his fiery death. Don’t worry about the poor semi driver that your ex husband could have killed.

  13. Is this CTE thing going to be the leitmotif of the 2017 season? Are we going have to sit through hours of ESPN sermons on the danger of the sport … before cutting away to kickoff brought to you by Bud Lite?

    Spare me. I’ll just tune in at kickoff and watch without the sound on.

  14. We live in an age where people look for anything to be offended by. He wasn’t saying it to disparage former players, just showing his dedication to the game. Good lord people.

  15. Look, these are athletes; not MENSA candidates. We can’t expect them all to speak with perfected intelligence and reflection. So when someone utters the inevitable unspeakably stupid statement, just consider the source. For some of these guys, you can have a more intelligent conversation with a tree.

  16. How dare a guy have an opinion that she disagrees with! Yes, he must be sh-tting on her ex husband’s grave because this guy loves football that much that he’d be willing to die playing it. He didn’t say he thinks everyone else should be cool with dying playing it but that HE would be. How dare he want to decide HIS OWN LIFE.

    I bet this woman is a liberal since she has that liberal mentality of telling everyone how they should act and what they should think and if they think in a way she disagrees with, they are somehow offending someone.

  17. when somebody says they will die overseas for their country, nobody blinks. I sincerely hope Adams does not make an apology for this. People need to r-e-l-a-x.

  18. The guy made a comment about loving the game and how he’s willing to accept the consequences. Not everything is about you.

  19. Spoken like a true twenty something…..Young, dumb, and full of, well you know. Ask this question this two guys 25 yrs later, 3-4 kids later, a wife later, a grandkid later, house, cars, etc…later, and the answer will be much, much different. But because they make their living this way, irrational justification is necessary.
    Football is in big trouble, they are just beginning to see the effects of CTE. The more public it becomes the fewer people will play. New helmets, outer shell technology, inner shell technology, none of it stops concussions. Hits rattle the brain, the brain bounces off the cranium, concussions develop, repeated concussions lead to CTE. Justify it whatever way you want, this is what is happening.

  20. emmonsh says:
    Aug 1, 2017 6:17 AM
    I will bet probably half the people over 50 have cte or the beginning of dementia. They are also not making a million dollars a week. If a player thinks that there is nothing dangerous about football they are crazy and delusional. But they are paid to play and they can go work at mcdonalds for 9 dollars a hour instead.

    ———-

    Other than you want it to be true. where is your evidence that “half the people over 50 have CTE”?

  21. … Maybe, just maybe, his comments had nothing to do with Keana or her late ex-husband.

    Feels like the media is just sensationalizing someone over-reacting.

  22. So she was ok with dealing with her husbands mood swings and such when he was playing and the good times were rolling but once he was retired she left him. What a prize catch.

    “Till death do us part”

    I don’t expect anyone to monitor every single word that comes out of their mouth because of the potential that someone might get offended. Heck, if I were Adams and I knew about Ms. McMahon I probably still would have said what he said.

  23. AND ANOTHER THING… I’d rather have a guy on my team that says ‘the field is a perfect place to die’ as opposed to someone who says ‘I’m going to try to not get hurt and make as much money as I can for a few years’.

  24. campcouch says:
    Aug 1, 2017 6:43 AM
    Ex-wife. Appalled but didn’t stick it out with the husband that suffered.

    _______________________________________

    I cannot believe people are giving you a thumbs up for this ignorant comment. A mother’s first job is to protect her children and her second job is to protect herself.
    She said they were scared of him because of his mood swings. What was she supposed to do, stay with him until he took their lives, too?????
    He was a very sick man who ended up driving recklessly on the NY State Thruway where he could have killed other people. Luckily, he only killed himself.
    Obviously, you’ve never been around someone with dementia. I have. My mom died of Alzheimer’s and my dad died of Parkinson’s.
    As she pointed out, you don’t know what it’s like if you haven’t been around someone with these types of debilitating diseases.

  25. I’m still trying to figure out why so many are so focused on the NFL and yet no one is in an uproar about boxing, MMA, UFC where the individuals where no protection and are constantly being hit, kicked, kneed or whatever else in the ring. Also, the statistics from that recent study of brains which were donated, how many were from guys who played 30 or more years ago? On a final note, just about with every occupation there comes a risk but individuals still apply for and do those jobs and get paid far, far less than NFL players and as a veteran I know and so do countless others who are either policeman or fireman or construction workers etc., I think this topic is overblown because these guys aren’t forced to play the game and they are aware of the risk and the rewards.

  26. When you are scared for your life and the life of your kids you leave…and no one knew what the hell cte was back then, and there really is no tx for it, at this time.

  27. Thank the lord for Conservatives. You can always count on them to think stupidity is something to cheer.

  28. One of the big things no one in the NFLPA or ex-players families (or NFL for that matter) like to talk about is that anabolic steroids significantly weaken the brain’s tissues much like they weaken other organs. Latest research makes the link very clear-cut (see PLoS One journal 2016 11(1) e0146540, Namjoshi et al “Chronic Exposure to Androgenic-Anabolic Steroids Exacerbates Axonal Inury…Repetitive Concussion”).

  29. campcouch says:
    Aug 1, 2017 6:43 AM
    Ex-wife. Appalled but didn’t stick it out with the husband that suffered.

    ———————-

    Really clueless comment. None of us have any idea what was going on behind closed doors.

  30. I know wiki isn’t the best but according to this description, it’s difficult to determine if it was CTE or just his personality.

    “He then injured his knee again in a bar fight in March 1999, which required further surgery, ending his next season as well. The Steelers placed him on injured reserve and paid him $187,000, a fraction of the $1.5 million he was scheduled to earn. Then, he tore his biceps in January 24, 2000, celebrating a hockey game. The string of injuries prompted the Steelers to waive Strzelczyk.”

  31. A disease you can only diagnose…..upon death….and the solution? Take an American pastime that is fueled by testosterone (male driven) and attempt to eradicate from America…..but no one talks about soccer where using your head to advance the ball is part of the game AND….by the way…..they don’t wear helmets

  32. C’mon, lady!

    You spent how much time with football players?

    Did you fail to recognize how many of them would have played for the money, fame and glory REGARDLESS of the risk involved to their health and lives?

    Its terrible what happened to your husband, truly. But this crusade can and will only go so far. At the end of the day, a large percentage of the players just don’t care about the risk. The payoff, being rich and famous, is just to great a draw.

  33. There is truth that if you choose to box, fight in the UFC, downhill ski race, etc. There is inherent risk of long term injury or death.

    People play anyway.

    Many players would have nothing if not for the game of football. They would gladly accept the risks.

    It’s great to try and make the game safer, but the risks cannot be completely removed from the game.

  34. cafetero1075 says:
    Aug 1, 2017 8:15 AM
    Most people would risk health over earning millions of dollars

    ————-

    Look at some of the extreme sports athletes. They risk their life for the thrill of it. It’s not hard to find young guys willing to risk their health. Sure they may regret it later, but they are still are going to do it.

  35. hendawg21 says:
    Aug 1, 2017 9:44 AM
    I’m still trying to figure out why so many are so focused on the NFL and yet no one is in an uproar about boxing, MMA, UFC where the individuals where no protection and are constantly being hit, kicked, kneed or whatever else in the ring. Also, the statistics from that recent study of brains which were donated, how many were from guys who played 30 or more years ago? On a final note, just about with every occupation there comes a risk but individuals still apply for and do those jobs and get paid far, far less than NFL players and as a veteran I know and so do countless others who are either policeman or fireman or construction workers etc., I think this topic is overblown because these guys aren’t forced to play the game and they are aware of the risk and the rewards.

    —————-

    I agree. I think the main reason people are so focused on the NFL is that they really felt the game was safer than it is. I think everyone knows the risk of boxing and everyone knows the risks of MMA, but I don’t think people really understood the risks when they signed their kids up for Pop Warner. Now that people know, I agree that it’s no different then any other sport with risk of head injury.

  36. Just have the players sign waivers when drafted stating that the NFL has zero liability for medical issues arising from playing football after a player retires. Then players can decide if they want to play or not. Former players who weren’t properly informed have a legit case to make but this would make it a non-issue going forward if they implement for current players. You either choose to get paid millions now knowing that you could be scarred for life because of playing or you choose not to play.

  37. campcouch says:
    Aug 1, 2017 6:43 AM

    Ex-wife. Appalled but didn’t stick it out with the husband that suffered.

    —————–

    That’s it. Humanity has lost out to the morons of the world. Ever read about this guy? He was a psychopath, regardless of what caused it. She & her young children were terrified of him, for good reason. He was losing his mind. I guess she should have stayed until he Benoit’d his family. A woman should NEVER stay with a man who is a threat to her or her children’s safety.

  38. Funny how this crusade against football goes. Boxing MMA I guess there’s nothing wrong with those people getting kicked in the head. There are more concussions on bikes than in any other activity

  39. She misses him now that he’s gone.
    Adams? He’s an idiot kid, we all said outrageous stupid things when we were that age.

  40. Won’t be long before there is an ACTUAL in-game death of a professional football player!

    It amazes me that everyone ignores that high-probability event, and that I’ve never read or heard of an accredited media member asking the NFL what protocols they have in place for an on-the-field death. Because they surely know it’s coming, and they certainly must be prepared!

  41. I think stories like this distract from the real issue, which is the league’s transparency about the dangers of football. People don’t get as worked up about MMA and boxing, etc., because it has always been known (or, at least, very easily deduced) that these sports carry serious risk of head injuries. But I think people (especially parents) have always felt that football is safe, and the NFL has been working hard to downplay the concussion/CTE problem. That, to me, is the issue.

    If these guys really understand the risks and want to accept them, that’s nobody else’s business. But a lot of players, frankly, are not that bright and not well-educated, and it does no one any favors for the NFL to cloud the issue. If the league were open about the risks, I’d feel a lot more confident that these guys really understood what they were signing up for.

    Whether this woman is offended is irrelevant.

  42. emmonsh says:
    Aug 1, 2017 6:17 AM

    I will bet probably half the people over 50 have cte or the beginning of dementia. They are also not making a million dollars a week.

    Someone needs a math lesson.

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