RSVP for Weekly Calls on The Disposability of Men
It is hard to dismiss the overwhelming evidence of footballs’ hold on American culture. It’s equal parts modesty and showmanship, fast paced and instant replay, gritty and resolute, and the aggressive action is wildly entertaining, albeit brute. Yet, for over the last 100 years, the game has changed, the players have grown exponentially. The sport has become a big business money maker from its first Super Bowl on January 15, 1967 between Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs, to advertising sponsorships, college scholarships, endorsements, gear, and, yes, the all-consuming tailgate parties.
According to 2014 and 2016 Harris Polls, Football is the most popular sport played and watched in America, with Major League Baseball ranking a close second. Rugby football, association football, or what it is best known for in America, football, had its first kick of the oval-shaped ball in the 1800’s, and although the name and nature of the game has diversified, the interest in the sport remains constant.
However, it is important to note that the rationale behind the fanaticism is not as obvious or cut and dry as one may assume. Demographics are a factor in the statistics:
- Rural areas of the U.S. love the sport more than people who live in urban areas.
- Incomes below $100K are more likely to favor the sport than those who earn above $100K.
- Football is not gender-specific; women enjoy the sport as much as men.
- An equal number of whites love the sport as blacks.
- College football ranks third, after professional baseball.
Today’s football isn’t just a game; it’s a corporate conglomerate with crossover potential because of the mass appeal. Nevertheless, despite the sensationalism, mascots, and provocative lure of fame and fortune, overall, the reviews are mixed; the growing evidence that concussions and other head traumas can alter or end an athlete’s life are the reasons behind football’s changing perception.
Mike Webster, former center for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs played for the teams during 1974 – 1990. Throughout his career, he suffered traumatic head injuries, a decline in mental and personality capacity, and physical pain. Although he had signs and symptoms that mimicked dementia, the root cause of his illness was a mystery. This disease without a name, diagnosis, or specific medication to end or alleviate the pain and erratic behavior left him depressed. He lived a dysfunctional life that spiraled out of his control, and alienated him from his family, and everything familiar became unfamiliar obstacles.
Webster lost the ability to care for himself and was unable to think and act constructively, and after his wife filed for divorce, with nothing left to sustain him, he succumbed to the warring factions of mind versus body. Eventually, he became homeless and alternated between living in his truck in his home state of Pennsylvania and in a train station in Wisconsin. Mike desperately sought relief from isolation and his erratic behavior through use and abuse of prescription drugs administered by his physician. Mike also used a Taser in an attempt to find comfort in his uncomfortable world. He eventually died of a heart attack in 2002
In 2002, Dr. Bennet Omalu, a neuropathologist and forensic pathologist examined the brain tissue of Mike Webster. After extensive research, he discovered that, although a heart attack was the initial cause of death for Mike Webster, his dementia and Alzheimer’s-like symptoms were the result of years of repeated brain trauma, concussions, and asymptomatic head injuries that he endured while playing pro football. The official, though disputed diagnosis was Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or better known by the acronym ‘CTE’. The relationship between football, concussions, and CTE, gave credibility to investigate the deaths of other athletes whose ‘sportsmanship’ included repetitive, traumatic blows to the head, the lifetime of complications they experienced, and whether or not the cause of death can be diagnosed as CTE.
CTE has put into perspective the National Football Leagues’ integrity, and how the multi-million dollar advertising/sponsorships, profits, and contractual agreements between team owners and the league, are more important than the players who invariably, unwittingly commit to signing their lives and mental aptitude away. It’s the battle of money versus the marginalization of the men who genuinely love, and play the sport. It is a watershed moment that notes the dichotomy between the support, encouragement, and spirited courtship before and during the draft, followed by the exhilaration of silence and proposed ignorance after the glory fizzles and the men leave the field mentally battered and discombobulated. Can we project that their lives only matter when the men are healthy and vibrant on and off the field? How many men have to harm themselves, families, or significant others before the league considers the facts of CTE? Scientific evidence of its existence—and the irreversible damage of the disease—are real.
Football’s popularity has transformed the lives of many players, on and off the field. There are retired athletes who have successfully maneuvered across the 50-yard line and are thriving in business and entertainment endeavors. We can surmise that they are healthy, living their lives without any debilitating brain injuries, or physical/psychological barriers. It is an unfortunate yet sad truth that there are many men whose careers do not end as happily or productive or are able to support themselves. Concussions and other injuries in football are a given; it goes with the territory of the sport. Is it also a given that the men who play the sport will be left to handle the disease alone without the support of the league? Is perseverance in spite of pain and injury, regardless of the physical and emotional limitations – the mantra of the National Football League? Are the men the unfortunate, insignificant victims of circumstance? Concussions and CTE separate men from their soul. The weightiness and ramifications of the disease not only affects the man, but his entire family, yet the ‘business’ of football continues to touch down.
RSVP for Weekly Calls on The Disposability of Men
Continue the conversation about the Disposability of Men on Facebook. Click here to join our exclusive Facebook group.
We are proud of our SOCIAL INTEREST GROUPS—WEEKLY PHONE CALLS to help discuss and help solve some of the most difficult challenges the world has today. Calls are for Members Only (although you can join the first call for free). Not yet a member of The Good Men Project? Join now!
What Now? Participate. Take Action. Join The Good Men Project Community.
The $50 Platinum Level is an ALL-ACCESS PASS—join as many groups and classes as you want for the entire year. The $25 Gold Level gives you access to any ONE Social Interest Group and ONE Class–and other benefits listed below the form. Or…for $12, join as a Bronze Member and support our mission. All members see the site AD-FREE!
Please note: If you are already a writer/contributor at The Good Men Project, log in here before registering. (Request new password if needed).
Your ANNUAL PLATINUM membership includes:
1. Free and UNLIMITED ACCESS to participate in ANY of our new Social Interest Groups. We have active communities of like-minded individuals working to change the world on important issues. Weekly facilitated calls that lead to execution of real world strategies for change. Complete schedule here, with new ones starting all the time. We now offer 500 calls a year!
2. Free and UNLIMITED ACCESS to ALL LIVE CLASSES. Learn how build your own platform, be a better writer, become an edit or create social change. Check out our training sessions. As a Platinum member, you can take them all.
3. Invitation to the MEMBERS ONLY Good Men Project Community on Facebook. Connect with other members, network and carry the conversation no one else is having one step further.
4. Access to our PREMIUM MEMBER LIBRARY with our recorded ConvoCasts and classes. ConvoCasts are a new form of media—and you are in them! Only Platinum Members get access to our recordings. And recordings of our classes are really valuable for those who do not have time to take the live classes or just want to review.
5. An ad-free experience. No banner, pop-up, or video ads when you log in.
6. Weekly conference calls with the publisher and other community members. Our weekly calls discuss the issues we see happening in the world of men in a friendly group setting.
7. PLATINUM member commenting badge. Your comments on our website will appear with a platinum member badge, signifying you are a part of our core community.
Price for ANNUAL PLATINUM membership is $50/year.
Your ANNUAL GOLD membership will include:
1. Free access to any ONE Social Interest Groups.Try them out! We have active communities of like-minded individuals working to change the world on important issues. Weekly facilitated calls that lead to execution of real world strategies for change. Complete schedule here, with new ones starting all the time.
2. Free access to any ONE of our live classes. Each month, we have the following: Learn how to be a Rising Star in media, build your own platform, become an advanced writer, become an editor or create social change. Check out our classes here. RSVP for any one class—if you want to take more, just upgrade to an Annual Platinum Membership.
3. Invitation to the MEMBER-ONLY Good Men Project Community on Facebook and all Weekly Conference calls with the Publisher and community. Connect with other members online and by phone!
4. An ad-free experience. No banner, pop-up, or video ads when you are logged in—as long as your membership is active.
5. GOLD commenting badge. Your comments on our website will appear with a gold member badge, signifying you are a part of our core community.
Price for ANNUAL GOLD membership is $25/year.
Your ANNUAL BRONZE membership will include:
1. Invitation to the MEMBER-ONLY Good Men Project Community on Facebook and weekly conference calls with the publisher and community. Connect with other members, network and carry the conversation no one else is having one step further.
2. A listing on our Friends of The Good Men Project page. Your support of our mission is noted and appreciated. See the page here!
3. An ad-free experience. No banner, pop-up, or video ads when you are logged in—as long as your membership is active.
4. BRONZE member commenting badge. Your comments on our website will appear with a bronze member badge, signifying you are a part of our core community.
Price for ANNUAL BRONZE membership is $12/year.
We have groups and calls 7 days a week:
We have pioneered the largest worldwide conversation about what it means to be a good man in the 21st century. Your support of our work is inspiring and invaluable.
Price for ANNUAL BRONZE membership is $12/year.
“Here’s the thing about The Good Men Project. We are trying to create big, sweeping, societal changes—–overturn stereotypes, eliminate racism, sexism, homophobia, be a positive force for good for things like education reform and the environment. And we’re also giving individuals the tools they need to make individual change—-with their own relationships, with the way they parent, with their ability to be more conscious, more mindful, and more insightful. For some people, that could get overwhelming. But for those of us here at The Good Men Project, it is not overwhelming. It is simply something we do—–every day. We do it with teamwork, with compassion, with an understanding of systems and how they work, and with shared insights from a diversity of viewpoints.” —– Lisa Hickey, Publisher of The Good Men Project and CEO of Good Men Media Inc.
Photo credit: Getty Images