Baseball may be America’s pastime, but football is America’s sport. Every Sunday, millions gather around a television to see their favorite teams and players leave everything behind on the field of play. Football players put their lives on the line each and every week for different reasons. The money in professional football is a major reason that athletes decide to risk their bodies and lives in order to give fans an amazing spectacle each and every Sunday for 17 weeks of regular season play.
On Monday night, the NFL welcomed a new player to its club with the signing of rookie holdout and first overall pick, Jamarcus Russell [Sources: Raiders reach agreement in principle with top pick Russell]. Many people have ripped on players like Russell for penny pinching and trying to get as much money as possible from executives that often claim to be losing money on their investments. You should not expect for these trends to discontinue. However, maybe we should all stop complaining and appreciate that such talented athletic specimens decide to give up their bodies in order for our enjoyment and money.
The last unsigned first-round pick from the 2007 NFL Draft has now officially entered the league. But with the start of the season, the door remains open for current NFL members to exit. Sometimes, their exit is under less than fortunate circumstances.
This past weekend, Buffalo Bills defender Kevin Everett put on his uniform, jockstrap, and helmet just like any other Sunday. He entered the field of play and consented to the rules of the game, which involve a lot of physical contact. He knew that he was taking a risk by playing, but chose to be out there to help his team try to beat the Denver Broncos. He definitely was not aware of the consequences of such a decision.
Everett was trained to tackle other men. In his training, he was certainly told to never lead with your head when making a tackle. Sometimes, a player does not get to choose how the tackle is made, though. This past weekend, he made a head to shoulder tackle on special teams, and because of it, may be paralyzed without the ability to ever walk again (although his doctor thinks that he will walk again).
This post is not anti-football. I love the game and would hate to not have the ability to watch it every Sunday and Monday night. Instead, this post should make you see all the great things about the sport, and any other sport where athletes really give up their lives in order to please the public. All too often, we hear the media bash athletes and their agents because they apparently do not deserve the money that they are receiving. But these athletes do not only have special abilities that you and I do not have; they also assume a huge risk when they decide to partake in their sports. Unfortunately, we now must witness when the risk turns into actual damage.
I wish Kevin Everett and his family all the best.