In 1971, Detroit Lions wide receiver Chuck Hughes dropped dead on the field during a game against the Chicago Bears.
In September of 2017, Midwestern State University’s Robert Grays broke his neck while making a tackle against Texas A&M-Kingsville. Later that day, College of Wooster senior offensive lineman Clayton Geib suffered injuries in a contest against College of Wooster that he would latter succumb to.
Struggling with various football-related neurological issues, Washington State University quarterback Tyler Hilinski shot himself in January of 2018.
Late last year, the HBO news magazine “Real Talk with Bryant Gumbel” reported that of 30 NCAA football players have died during workouts since the year 2000.
Around the same time, high school football player Dylan Thomas died as a result of a tackle in Zebulon, Georgia.
Of the brains of over a hundred deceased football players tested for CTE, an astonishing 99% showed signs of considerable neurological rot.
The evidence goes on and on and on.
Over the last few days, I watched parts of multiple football games. Repeatedly, I saw players helped or carted off the field due to significant injuries.
In the midst of the onslaught, I remembered a Letter to the Editor that I wrote a number of years ago.
Letter to the Editor of The Daily Mississippian
September 30, 2011
I experienced my first football game at Ole Miss not too long ago. Buying into the national advertising campaigns and recent attempts to modernize campus symbolism, I expected to see a modern multiracial environment. What I saw was quite the contrary…
I arrived in The Grove to see thousands of white people celebrating their money and football with exotic drinks, expensive clothing, and the finest tailgating tents money can buy. I stopped at my first tailgate to hear discussion of the joys of not being from Utah. To which a young man, donning a pledge pin from a large campus fraternity, replied, “…at least they don’t have all these niggers.” Honestly, looking around, I had no idea who he was talking about. The only persons on The Grove were members of Mississippi’s white privileged elite. The Mississippians this young man seemed to be speaking of are unable to afford the tickets or comforts he and his buddies enjoyed. Somewhat shaken, I continued to journey toward the stadium. Upon gate arrival, I became more frustrated when I saw African-Americans filling most of the menial/servant tasks of cleanup and security. I bought a program from a vendor and wasn’t surprised to see most of the players were also African-Americans. When I got to my seat, I noticed the crowd around me was all white. The longer I sat the more I realized where I was…the Roman Coliseum. Mississippi’s white elites scream for blood as mostly young African-Americans place their lives on the line (see former player Bennie Abram / who incurred deadly injuries while playing football) for collective white entertainment. I left knowing, despite trite cosmetic efforts to the contrary, the historical traditions of oppression are alive and well at Ole Miss.
The entire experience made me wonder when people will get as upset about inequality as they do loosing football games.
Rev. Jeff Hood
Truth cannot be denied.
Football destroys the body.
Football thrives on inequity.
Until major changes are made…
Football is evil.