By Mardeio Cannon | OBSERVER Columnist
OPINION – Many of you are enjoying watching and rooting for your favorite NFL teams as teams jockey to make the playoffs and reach the Super Bowl next year at the new stadium in Los Angeles. However, there is an ugly side to the NFL that has come out in the open that should make all of us NFL junkies ANGRY!!
Playing football is a violent sport that can lead to some serious injuries. However, the most damaging injuries that affected retired NFL players the most were the repeated blows to the head that caused brain damage that was so sometimes fatal to retired NFL players. This condition was called CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) caused by serious injuries to the brain that can render a patient helpless as they age and can lead to suicide (Junior Seau) and even premature death.
The NFL, after repeated denials, finally admitted that CTE was caused by playing in the NFL and settled a lawsuit brought on by former players for $800 million.
However, in a story that should make all African Americans angry, the NFL admitted that they paid African Americans players 20% less in their payout than to former White players because of some racist bogus research that African Americans suffered less than White players because of their race.
The NFL finally admitted that they were in error and now is awarding more than $220 million to African Americans players to bring their award equal to the White players. This should make our blood boil when stories like this come to light especially in a league where African Americans comprise 70% of current NFL rosters according to the latest report.
However, before you cancel your season-ticket to NFL games, there is more to the story that should make your blood boil.
I watched a story on You Tube where the wife of Steve Smith, a former NFL player for the Oakland Raiders who is bedridden and can’t talk except with his eyelids because of CTE, said that the attorneys are asking for 25%-40% of the additional settlement from the NFL. The NFL had already allocated $125 million for attorney fees on this case. Smith says that the attorneys in most cases don’t DESERVE their fee because they didn’t do much work to acquire the additional money from the NFL. She and many others have fired these attorneys and now the entire amount is held up because of the attorney’s greed.
Smith says that she has exhausted all of her resources in caring for her husband and needs the additional money from the lawsuit.
This story should make us all rethink the dangers of playing football and the greed and the blatant racism exhibited by the NFL. I realize that football in the fall and winter is so ingrained in our psyche that it would be very hard to do without college football and the NFL. As for me, I will consider some withdrawal effects from supporting a league that gets its success from African American players and at the same time so inherent RACIST in their decisions.