In 1990, I was a Freshman in college. Steve Largent had just retired and came to speak at my campus as the keynote speaker for a conference on Ethics in Athletics. To give you guys an idea of just what kind of a nut job Seahawks fan I am -- I skipped dinner that night and showed up 2 hours before the start of the conference. The only people who were there were the 3 or 4 guys who were setting up for the conference ... and I plopped myself down dead center front row, camping out in that seat until the conference started. In fact, I've still got a recording of Largent's talk on audio cassette and the poster of the conference that somehow mysteriously ended up in my possession. Hmmmm ...
Anyway, Largent said something during the question and answer period that night that I've never forgotten. He was asked by someone if he was going to allow his boys to play football. Largent gave a great answer, saying that he'd already had that talk with his sons. He said that he was quite frank with them, saying in essence (I'm paraphrasing here), "It's not IF you'll get hurt son ... it's when. You WILL get hurt playing football. That's just the nature of the sport."
I've never forgotten that advice and that's exactly what I tell everyone (and what I'm going to tell me own sons) about playing football. I saw this article in the Seattle Times a few years ago on Curtis Marsh (Link: Seattle Times - No Game, Still Pain
) and I'm saving it for my sons for them to read someday in order to have that conversation.
Believe me, I'm totally sympathetic to the families of Junior Seau and tons of other ex-NFL players like him. I absolutely hate all these crippling injuries that these guys end up with. But I'm sorry, violence is the nature of the sport. Yes, the NFL should try its best to make it as safe as possible and to minimize such injuries ... but the bottom line is: That's the price you'll probably have to pay for the rest of your life if you choose to play football. That's exactly what I would tell Obama and what I tell everyone else who cares to listen.