One week after Seau’s death, the wrong questions are being asked

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It has become fashionable in the wake of the death of linebacker Junior Seau to ask current and former NFL players whether they’ll permit their children to play football.

It’s all part of the four-letter media’s effort to, as Dan Patrick calls it, “play the hits” — and the most popular tune currently is Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be (Dallas) Cowboys.

But the bigger question that the media should be posing to players in the wake of the Seau suicide is this:  Will you quit complaining about the NFL’s efforts to make the game safer?

That’s the change that needs to happen next.  And that’s the question that players who have loudly complained about changes to the game need to be asked.

For more, here’s a little snippet from Wednesday’s PFT Live.

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28 responses to “One week after Seau’s death, the wrong questions are being asked

  1. If enough of these people dont let their kids play football then just maybe my kid has a chance!

  2. More propaganda from the NFL … Just destroy the whole NFL, give it a new name then start from stratch … Then nobody will complain …

  3. Why haven’t the players sued the NCAA or even high school for concussions. They didn’t sustain their injuries exclusively in the pros. The NFL is getting all the blame when most played amateur sports longer. Also, these players committing suicide could also have not adjusted to life after football, and suffered depression because they couldn’t let go of the game. It seems the defacto blame is put squarely on concussions. If that’s the case, the Chris Benoit should be forgiven due to the condition of his brain /sarcasm

  4. So true. The players (association) want(s) it both ways. They sue the league cuz the league doesn’t care about safety and then the PA resists the league when it tries to take a stand and be proactive about player safety. Typical union behavior: focus on and fight every little battle and forget about the bigger picture. DeMaurice Smith is small minded and on the wrong side of history.

  5. Where does the link between concussions and suicide come from ne way … I’m sure the brain test gonna say the concussions caused Seau death ..

  6. I find the question of should I let my kids play football to be extremely relevant. For me the answer is no, its too violent and not worth the long term health risks associated when they can play any number of safer sports instead. That seems like common sense to me. I’m not at all sure why anyone would think that’s an inappropriate question in the wake of a football player’s suicide. Seems to me that too many people involved in the NFL and surrounding media are trying to shout down those of us that raise these issues.

  7. marvsleezy:
    AMEN! It’s a great thought.
    Thanks Florio. You’re right on this one (not on the Viking stadium, but this one, you’re right on).
    There is one other needed change to make the game, at the pro level, safer: more thorough and transparent testing for PED’s. The NFL, if it is serious about player safety, should grow a pair and adopt international Olympic standards for testing PED”s and masking agents. Anyone who has loved the game, at one time, and looks at it now, cannot help but wonder how human beings have evolved over, say 30 years, to the point where 330 lb men can have the strength of world class lifters, run like a gazelle, and deliver the force of a small car upon impact. Players from the era of the 1970’s could not compete with this generation because of the reality of PED’s, and it needs to change if the sport, at the pro level, is to re-gain at least some integrity.

  8. This seems like a stretch since we don’t even know if playing football even contributed to his depression at all.

  9. Everybody assumes that he did it because of head trauma, which I think is pretty irresponsible. The fact is that nobody knows why he shot himself, and nobody ever will. I think that it is more likely that he was having difficulty transitioning away from the game that he loved, the game that was his life. This guy played until he absolutely could not do it anymore. He Didn’t want to stop, and maybe he just didn’t know what to do with himself when he couldn’t play anymore.

    Head trauma doesn’t make people kill themselves. It might contribute to a decline in somebody’s quality of life, which could lead to depression. People kill themselves because they don’t know what else to do, and it doesn’t always have a connection to head trauma. I never heard a word about Junior having any kind of memory issues, or any other symptoms related to head trauma. Not to say that he might not have had some issues, or that it might not have contributed to this. It just isn’t as cut and dry as it is being made out in the media.

    It doesn’t mean anything that he shot himself in the chest. Maybe he didn’t want his girlfriend to find him with his head blown across the room, or maybe he wanted his mother to be able to have an open casket. Who knows? I sure don’t, and neither does anybody else.

  10. Why is everyone assuming Seau’s depression stemmed from head trauma? Is it because concussions are such a hot topic? There are plenty of ex-players who have said adjusting to life after football is difficult.

    Didn’t Trevor Price just detail how hard it is for him to adjust to a life outside of football? Mike Golic admitted he didn’t know what to do with himself when he stopped playing because there wasn’t anyone around telling him what to do.

    Head trauma COULD have been a cause of Seau’s depression. It’s also possible that his family has a history of depression and he was prone to it. Stating his issues are a result of head trauma without knowing the full story is just plain old irresponsible.

  11. I’m pretty sure the results of the autopsy will say that Seau died from a bullet to the chest, not from concussions. Everyone who is blaming football for his death is going directly from A to Z without bothering to see what results are in between. Many people suffer from depression, not only football players who have suffered concussions. I can tell you one thing, football played a big part in Seau’s great life. I, and no one, can really tell us that football played a part in his death at this point.

  12. When did evidence that his football career had any affect on the end of his life come about?

    Shouldn’t we wait to find out any results before we ASSume what the casue was? Maybe he was prone to depression all his life. Maybe he had financial issues. Maybe any other issue could have caused it.

  13. Death and loss are and integral part of life…we need to accept it and move on…these players are highly compensated for what they do on the field of competition…nobody forced them to play…the risks are evident in the game of football…implement a training program for awareness and consequence…make the organizatios, NFL brass, and NFLPA attend…move on

  14. To protect the players from concussions the NFL should change the current helmets to astronaut helmets, which are bigger and more protective.

    Furthermore, these helmets should be made of Zectron, the material used on super/bouncy balls.

    The bounciness will dissipate the impact. Head hits will have the player bounce away from the opposing player.

    Since bouncing away from the opponent will not stop him and will put the head hitter out of position to make a play, players will be forced to rely on blocking and tackling instead of head hits.

  15. You have no idea what questions should be asked in the aftermath of Junior Seau’s suicide because you have no idea what led to Junior Seau’s suicide. More than 70 percent of suicides are linked to depression, and you can’t draw any causal relationship between his actions and the game he once played–even if he did suffer from brain trauma. People from all walks of life commit suicide, and this tragedy could have happened to Seau if he’d spent his life as a bus driver. Exploiting it to make any point about the game of football is irresponsible.

  16. So now after 3 players have committed suicide after their football careers we’re linking suicide and NFL football together. Even though thousands have retired after long careers Is there any correlation to the hundreds of people that commit suicide everyday to football? Maybe these few guys were just guys who had mental issues like the thousands that have also committed the act. But that’s not news worthy enough, let’s blow it out of proportion.

  17. Football is a gladiator sport, full of Warriors… Concussions, broken bones and spilled blood are what american culture craves. Just leave it at that.

  18. Mike Florio shoots, and……..scores. Player safety begins and ends with the NFL getting the teams, players and fans to except the new realities of football safety.

  19. You nailed it PFT.
    Its a culture thing. Even the NFL itself is still celebrating unecesary but “legal” I suppose punishing hits.
    If he crosses the middle make him pay…
    lets get a hat on a hat…
    Deliberate full application of body weight on an already completed tackle usually long after there is a ball involved in the play.

    The same players laying on the tough guy talk now will be suing when they are 45.

  20. Bare with me here.
    Look at boxing. They bash their gloves into the skull of their opponent for 12 rounds until their brains are eventually mush. When they retire, they’re half mentally challenged and can barely talk.
    Contrary to this take the UFC. The sport has been raging since the early 80′s and, although there was facial reconstructive surgeries, I have yet to see a fighter end his career where it’s hard to understand him.
    The UFC says it’s because it’s a natural thing for the human body to be knocked out. The huge gloves on the boxers make it so they can will themselves up and not go to the floor. Not going to the floor can actually end up killing someone.
    Does the UFC have a brutal image because their small gloves? yes. Is it safer than boxing? yes.
    So what’s the answer? Do they go back to leather helmets? Should their be a weight limit to every player? Its pretty ridiculous but when you have 300+ pound men running full speed at another 300+ pound man with the false protection of a helmet it’s almost sure to have long lasting effects on the brain and body

  21. The concussion problem is easily solved: require all players to wear outside-padded helmets like the ones Mark Kelso and Steve Wallace used successfully after their careers were threatened by concussions. Goodell needs to figure out that the concussion problem represents an existential threat to the league, and make this a league-wide requirement.

  22. Has anyone considered Seau’s troubles was from the fact he was not able to cope without football? He retired and then Unretired very quickly, did this have anything to do with head hits? It is a shame and a waste of a human to die as he did but all at once everything that deals with a NFL players actions off the field Is directly associated with concussions.

  23. The NFL should be asking the same questions that everyone should.

    Why will no one talk about depression when 3x more people die from suicide than in drunk driving accidents?

    Why does no one care that more US soldiers die of suicide than in combat?

    And why will NFL players and other celebrities wear pink to fight breast cancer but turn a blind eye to the fact that we lose nearly the same amount of people each year to suicide?

  24. Maybe it was CTE – and it’s hard to get inside the head of a person whose brain has been damaged in ways ours haven’t.

    However, besides that – I wonder if Junior would still be with us if he would have been part of the NFL’s first 19-0 team in 2007.

    Not being sarcastic at all. Seau played his tail off his whole career (including practice and training), fighting like hell, for a Super Bowl ring. Nobody brought more PASSION for a longer period of time than Junior Seau. I can’t think of anybody. And Seau ended up coming up short in pretty much the harshest way imaginable. At least for a large number of other Patriots, they had walked off as Champions.

    Then, when the realization sunk in that Seau’s NFL career and chances at a Lombardi were over, could that have been something that may have been a factor? Would Seau be still alive he had some hardware to rock?

    Again, not clowning. Seriously, wonder what the things he was thinking about were – and have to consider the confluence career over coupled with that cruel loss with some of the most uncanny factors at work. The Tyree helmet catch for one.

  25. And guess what Florio? You are also asking the wrong question. NOBODY is asking what role steroids have in depression.

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