Why I Have to Give Up the NFL After Seau's Death

Elsa/Getty Images
Elsa/Getty Images

In his blog at the Atlantic, Ta-Nahesi Coates writes that while everyone has the right to risk physical danger, his conscience won't let him continue to watch football after the sport's most recent tragedy — the death of Junior Seau.


What's fairly clear to me is that football and its surrounding apparatus—the players, the big media, the NFL—aren't really ready to think about all that brain injuries might mean.

Perhaps it's too much to expect them too. Malcolm Gladwell puts the responsibility right where it belongs:

Gladwell: As long as the risks are explicit, the players warned, and those injured properly compensated, then I'm not sure we can stop people from playing. A better question is whether it is ethical to WATCH football. That's a harder question.

I'm not so sure that it's hard at all. The answer, at least for those displeased with pro football's response, seems pretty clear. Doing the damn thing is the hard part.

I now know that I have to go. I have known it for a while now. But I have yet to walk away. For me, the hardest portion is living apart—destroying something that binds me to friends and family. With people whom I would not pass another words, I can debate the greatest running back of all time. It's like losing a language.

Read Ta-Nahesi Coates' entire blog entry at the Atlantic.

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