As I celebrate my official arrival at the halfway point to 90 (I’m still waiting for a hockey jersey that says “From Gregg” on the back), I’ve been thinking about the recent retirement of long-time White House correspondent Helen Thomas, who at age 89 made some strong comments regarding Israel, sparking the same kind of uproar that has brought down far younger men.
Were her comments a function of age? Or could her decision to feast on her own foot have happened at any point in her career?
(This is when the judge would say, “I hope you’re going somewhere with this, Mr. Florio.”)
Here’s the point. Last night on his Twitter page, long-time NFL exec Joe Browne offered up this observation: “Helen Thomas is yet one more example why there
should be mandatory retirement at age 85.“
Browne, who recently announced that he’s stepping down as the league’s V.P. of communications to focus on serving as the NFL’s chief in-house lobbyist, joined the NFL at age 18 in the mail room. He served as one of Commissioner Roger Goodell’s first bosses, and Browne has remained with the league for 45 years. Given that many of his past tweets reflect a wry sense of humor, we’re assuming that the remark was intended in jest.
But it raises a valid point. Indeed, plenty of arguments could be advanced in support of a mandatory retirement age — and more importantly in support of an age on which a person’s driver’s license spontaneously should disintegrate. But given that the several NFL owners have migrated past their 85th birthdays (including Titans owner Bud Adams, Bills owner Ralph Wilson, and Lions owner William Clay Ford) and in light of the perception that Raiders owner Al Davis has lost his fastball due to age, Browne’s comment (where in jest or otherwise) makes us wonder whether some within the league office (and possibly some of the other owners) would prefer that the older owners surrender the captain’s chair sooner rather than later.
So that’s your topic for discussion today. Should the NFL require owners to step aside right after blowing out a small brush fire’s worth of candles?
Before chiming in, keep in mind that, eventually, you’ll be 85 too. Hopefully.