Monday Night Shame
bright lights and football fields? The excitement of closely matched
talent? Bigger than life Americans celebrating glorious victories and
suffering humiliating defeats? Huge money deals between networks,
advertisers and players?
How about a 35 year old man with a wife and two kids living in a
storage unit? The adults haven't eaten in three days, so that they can
feed their children. The husband can barely walk around let alone hold
a job. His spine has been fractured 17 times. He suffers nerve damage
and uncontrollable tremors. He avoids sunlight so as not to trigger the
cluster migraines he experiences throughout the day. The prescriptions
required to treat his conditions, go unfilled as there is no money to
pay for them.
What does this have to do with our NFL? The aforementioned 35 yr. old is a product of the NFL. Brian DeMarco
has been left in utter poverty due to medical bills and abandonment by
the National Football League Players Association. To make matters
grimmer, he is only one of many players who have been cast off by the
NFL with no disability benefits to cope with the devastating injuries
and health conditions they now must face.
It's seems incredible to me that an industry that is expected to
make $7 billion dollars this year, can actually have the audacity to
say they can't afford to help their injured retired players.
In a grassroots effort to assist ex-football players who are in extreme need, a non-profit organization called Gridiron Greats
has been formed. The charity raises money through donations and by
auctioning off football memorabilia. The money is then used to help
people like Brian DeMarco buy basic necessities, such as food.
Most people would agree that athletes, especially football players,
enter their profession with the knowledge that they may be injured.
Even then, I don't believe that anyone expects to be cast aside by one
of the richest organizations in the country. As the Gridiron Greats website states,
"If every football fan donated just one dollar, it would make an
enormous impact on the lives of the many retired players in dire need."
The NFL may have failed these athletes, but we don't have to.