Junior Seau did have CTE, as he must have suspected when he shot himself in the heart, leaving his brain behind to answer for his loved ones that inviolate “why?”
Football is, for me, like wrestling. Something I used to love that I’ve had to turn away from. It used to be that the questions were “Is it real?” “Are they cheating?” “Is he on steroids?”
And now the question is “Am I watching a man kill himself, maybe without even realizing it, for my amusement?”
More and more, I cannot deny that the answer to that question is “yes.”
It’s not just that. Honestly. If you’re an adult and you want to do something dangerous that might kill you, that’s your business. Sky-dive away. Climb that mountain. Whatever.
No, what really bugs me about it is that CTE robs people of their lives, of their families, of the people they recognize themselves to be.
I don’t mind–though perhaps I should–if you want to risk your life. But I cannot forget how much I enjoyed watching Chris Benoit risk his wife’s and son’s lives. Even though no one knew that was what was at risk when he launched himself from the top rope like a fireplug in a minor victory over gravity. I read he became very religious toward the end of his life and his whole family was so relieved, because they knew he’d been through some dark times recently, and maybe this was a sign he was finding his way out from it.
Except that apparently newfound religiosity is a symptom of CTE damage. His family just didn’t know how to recognize it for what it was–a danger sign. What they should have been able to read as a good sign was the opposite.
It even robs you of your religion.
And I should find that entertaining?
On weekends, I regularly drive by a field full of kids playing football. They’re so small and their helmets so big that they look like mushrooms out there. To which one of them would you say “I hope you kill your own child.”? “I hope you become a stranger to your own spouse.”? “I hope you shoot yourself in the heart so that science can have your head.”?