Melissa Harris-Perry | February 03, 2013
if that seems like a fair trade , consider this. the career of the average player, the average player is 3 1/2 years. for those players, when that time is up, so is the money. it is enough time for them to have been exposed to mild brain injury that is result from the routine hits that lead to a lifetime of chronic health problems. ruben, i want to start with you on this. how do we think about compensation? should we think of it as you make nearly $ 1 million , we put up with it or look at the life span , it's only four years so over a lifetime, it's not that much money.
>> it's hard to live in retro spect. at 40 years old, you look at it differently than 25. at 25 you say i'll deal with it when i'm 40. you don't know if you are going to play one year, three years rk i played 12 years. ray lewis , 10 years. you don't know how long you are going to last. you look at the trade off. you want to keep the guy behind you on the bench. injuries, current injuries, i had nine surgeries, spent two years of my life in crutches, not being able to walk. i wouldn't change anything, but i don't want to be a liability to my family in ten to 15 years when the things you spoke about earlier happen to the players.
>> people are thinking of the moment. this is human nature . we are not thinking ten, 20, 40 years down the line. it's recently we have learned that when your brain is rattling around for tackles, not even going unconscious, itd's going to affect you in 40 to 50 years.
>> if we are thinking in the long term, not everybody is facing the same time horizon . denzel smith writing for the publication we write for, dave, was writing about what is facing young boys in circumstances where they don't have a lot of economic sort of viability and where what they may be looking at is a different injury, gun violence or a lifetime of poverty. he writes, even if you are in the circumstances, the reason there are 1 million boys across the country playing this violent game is there are millions of dollars on the table in guaranteed contracts, endorsement deals for those who prove capable of strapping on the pads. who is more willing to play the lottery than those most economically disadvantaged? president obama 's mythical son could opt out, but not other kids.
>> it's going to define the future of who plays in the nfl. look at the most dynamic rookies, robert griffin iii, two african-american, one caucasian. what they have in common is they all come from stable, middle class homes. that's the kind of player i don't think you are going to see in the nfl in 20 to 30 years. it's going to become more and more. ift is now, but it's going to be a sport for the poor leveraging the fact they are willing to risk the injuries we are talking about. middle class families are not going to have their kids do it. it's almost 1 million less kids opted out playing youth football than the previous year. it's rooted in the fact of middle class suburban communities not wanting their kids to play.
>> does it make a difference if we play in high school and before that it's touch football and wait for the contact?
>> a young brain is developing. it's more vulnerable than an older brain in many ways. we don't know the cut off. we don't have the science to say when to take people out of the play. we are excited that now we can see these tal proteins in living people. we might be able to develop a task to rest your brain and get out of the game. know how long we have to rest it. if you sprain an ankle, that injury is going to get worse. you have to rest your brain, too.
>> yeah. i think you saying also that on the high school and youth level you have to be cleared by a doctor to go on the field. you are starting to see it at all three levels. going back to obama's comments, his kids will have opportunities most wouldn't have. it's easy to say. i understand speaking as a parent. on the youth level, if you are playing -- i read that article this week. i had issues with it. you are playing football for an end roll. it goes back to your parents, your communities, why are you playing the game? you are playing for a 98% chance you won't play beyond high school . it's a fake dream to begin with.
>> this goes back to the fan piece. the other reason is in the moment. it is a manhood prover. there's nothing quite like football. if you say you are a single mom , raising sons and you want to make sure you are manning them up and getting them out there and they are going to have coaches who are men and role models for them. listen quickly to kansas city chief offensive tackle in thinking of this manhood thing suggesting all of us as viewers are doing something horrible when we cheer for the injuries. let's listen.
>> when somebody gets hurt, there are long lasting ramifications to the game we play. long lasting ramifications to the game we play. all right? i have come to the understanding i probably won't live as long because i play this game. it's okay. it's the choice i have made. when you cheer someone getting knocked out, it's sickening. it's 100% sickening.
>> it's part of watching the game. i'm a saints fan. we cheer for the big hits .
>> people are getting paid to do them. it is sort of our gladiator sport. going back, we are talking inner city discussion. it's how a lot of families prove their bona fides . look at northwestern high school , the top football school in miami and the bottom school in graduating actual children from high school . terrible reading scores. when ever an administrator tried to pull back the football program saying we are going to put a grade requirement in there, we're going make it harder to play. you want to see the parents and alumni go ballistic? it's a big problem. there are several attempts to reel it in. the parents and alumni shut it down.
>> it's part of how you prove yourself . up next, we are going to talk about this. the economic question, who wins when a city like mine gets a chance to host a super bowl ? [