Indianapolis Colts Owner Jim Irsay had some rather interesting comments regarding football’s continual issues with brain damage and the impact that playing the game has on those who take to the field.
In speaking with the Sports Business Journal, Irsay had this to say recently:
“I believe this: that the game has always been a risk, you know, and the way certain people are,” Irsay said. “Look at it. You take an aspirin, I take an aspirin, it might give you extreme side effects of illness and your body … may reject it, where I would be fine. So there is so much we don’t know.”
However ridiculous this comment itself may seem, the enigmatic executive wasn’t even close to done with spewing false information and innuendo:
“One thing I have always felt strongly about, that is to say, ‘Oh, someone knew something and they didn’t tell way back in the ’60s or ’70s,’ that’s just not true. I was there. I know that’s a lie. You know no one knew anything,” the Colts owner continued. “The only thing we know and always knew is when you strap on that helmet and go out on the field, boy you know you are taking a risk, but the reward is something. It’s worth it.”
That’s the whole point here. Football players in previous eras had absolutely no idea what they were getting themselves into. There weren’t advances in the medical field that we see today. This is part of the premise behind the entire issue.
Now that we are starting to recognize the impact football has on players, something Irsay seems readily prepared to deny, maybe the process towards a fix can be started.
Comments like the ones he made recently do absolutely nothing to further this process.
In responding to Irsay’s utterly ridiculous comments, Detroit Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy had this to say:
Talk about a sick burn.
Levy is talking about Irsay’s previous issues with prescription drugs, a situation that led him to being suspended the first six games of the 2014 season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
Pure conjecture here, but it’s safe to say other NFL players probably drew the same conclusion in private on Monday.
After all, a member of the league’s power elite coming out with comments so far removed from reality isn’t lost on those who are being directly impacted by the situation today.
These comments also come immediately after the NFL itself recognized the link between football and Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).