- Marco Rubio: U.S. at social, moral crossroads
- ‘We’re coming for you, Barack Obama’: Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL
- White flags baffle NYPD: ‘We’re lucky it wasn’t a bomb’
- N.Y. Gov. Cuomo’s office interfered with, pressured corruption commission: report
- Brit lawmaker: I would fire on Israel if I lived in Gaza
- VA apologizes to forgotten Marine veteran locked in Fla. clinic, forced to call 911
- U.S. social and economic trends on worrisome track, survey finds
- McDonald nomination unanimously referred to full Senate
- Chuck Norris honorary chairman of NRA voter registration campaign
- GOP outraged Obamacare investigators able to get coverage with fake IDs
LOVERRO: In midst of Super Bowl spectacle, the wreckage of human lives
Question of the Day
I was thinking of Walt Sweeney this week listening to the tales of woe from New York.
I spoke to Sweeney, a nine-time Pro Bowl offensive guard, before the start of the 1997 Super Bowl. His life was a mess, and he laid it at the feet of football, charging he was turned into an addict during his time with the San Diego Chargers, where his career began in 1963 — a team that was known as the NFL’s candy store for drugs. It ended in 1976 when he pumped six rounds into his bed at Redskins training camp in Carlisle.
Sweeney sued the NFL in 1995, charging the drugs he had been given led to addiction, as well as cognitive and physical damage. He won a $1.8 million judgement in federal district court, only to have the decision overturned on appeal in 1997.
He was a pariah when I spoke to him. Gene Upshaw, executive director of the NFL Players Association, spit out Sweeney’s name like he was cursing when he was questioned about his former rival.
The contrast — parading the ills of the sport leading up to the game’s most important and watched contest — speaks to the arrogance of the NFL, an entity so powerful and consuming it can put its victims on display and not even suffer a dent in its popularity.
How many scrambled brains would it take for a moment of shame?
What would it take for the price of our entertainment to be too much to pay?
Dave Duerson put a shotgun in his chest and blew open a hole. That didn’t do it. Jovan Belcher shot the mother of his child and then drove to the Kansas City Chiefs training facility and shot himself in front of coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli. That didn’t do it.
I watched first-hand as a smart, intelligent man like John Mackey turned into a child from the effects of playing football. Yet I still watch. And I’ll watch on Sunday.
But it feels like lighting up in a cancer ward.
• Thom Loverro is co-host of “The Sports Fix,” noon to 2 p.m. daily on ESPN 980 radio and espn980.com
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- LOVERRO: CBS Sports leaves broadcasters hanging in Redskins name debate
- LOVERRO: Who are the men behind D.C. 2024 curtain?
- LOVERRO: Ian Desmond could follow Jeter model in D.C.
- LOVERRO: Red Klotz an unquestioned winner despite 14,000 losses
- LOVERRO: As King James returns home, all is forgiven
Latest Blog Entries
The subsidies are a hit with patients who don't exist
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
- House task force to recommend National Guard on border, faster deportations
- Democratic Sen. John Walsh plagiarized War College master's thesis: report
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- Netanyahu's Wikipedia page replaced with giant Palestinian flag
- David Perdue defeats Jack Kingston in Georgia Republican Senate primary runoff
- Hezbollah warring in Syria could join fight against Israel
- Despite rhetoric, gun prosecutions plummet under Obama
- DEACE: How to go from civil rights icon to bigot in one quote
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq