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October 14, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Sorry to bring everyone down from their Sunday Seahawks high, but the question must be asked in light of mounting evidence that football is a dangerous game: Would you let your son play football?
Whether you have a kid or want to answer this hypothetically, here’s a quick poll:
Regardless of your answer, the NFL is here to stay. Americans adore football despite dire warnings from scientists that football has caused long-term brain damage in some players.
- Last week, PBS’s investigative series “Frontline” broadcast a two-hour program on this topic. Here’s a link to a brief, must-see visual interactive explaining how Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy has affected at least 50 players as young as 17. Watch the program below:
- Author and New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell wrote a thought-provoking and influential piece in 2009 comparing football to dogfighting. He has not let up on his criticism of the game, as tracked in this August report from The Atlantic.
- On Friday, The New York Times’ editorial page published a fascinating guest column by Gregg Easterbrook, author of “The King of Sports: Football’s Impact on America.” in which he argues President Obama needs to get involved in reforming the game today, just as former President Theodore Roosevelt did in the early, bloody days of football. Easterbrook writes that Roosevelt’s involvement made college football less brutal and led to the creation of the NCAA. (more…)
March 20, 2013 at 8:50 AM
Even though the unveiling of Lindsey Vonn and Tiger Woods’ relationship on Facebook was as carefully orchestrated as a Broadway musical, announcing the relationship on Facebook actually makes them more like the rest of us.
Who hasn’t gone “awwwww” over the Facebook update that a friend “is now in a relationship?” That’s a prompt for me to beat a path to my friend’s Facebook page and post a facile comment: “Congrats!” “Yay!” “Excited for you!”
Facebook is how we now learn the most intimate news about our friends: marriages, engagements, birth of children and even death. I burst into tears in January when I saw “we’ll miss you” posts on the wall of a friend who had been diagnosed with cancer, Michael Triplett, a journalist and president of the National Lesbian Gay Journalists Association.
My grief was combined with shame. I had not even known he was so close to death. I hugged him when I saw him last July. I saw a status update that he went to church on Christmas eve. I should have reach out to him in a real way, through a card, a phone call — anything more meaningful than a “like” on his status updates.
The watershed moments posted on Facebook are real for the people we know. (Vonn and Woods for real? Who knows.) Those moments are almost real for the rest of us. Comments and likes complement but cannot replace a phone call, a card or getting up from your desk, walking over to someone and talking to them. I wish I had done that much for Michael.
January 31, 2013 at 2:46 PM
I was looking forward to a week in which we would read heartwarming stories about the Harbaugh brothers coaching their way to the Super Bowl. Instead, we’re pointing and laughing at Ray Lewis about deer-antler spray.
The Ravens linebacker is denying allegations that he uses deer-antler spray, which was reported by Sports Illustrated. Lewis, who has led Baltimore’s football team to Sunday’s national championship game, supposedly used the spray to recover from a torn right triceps. The spray contains IGF-1, an insulin-like growth factor that is banned by the NFL, according to SI. Lewis says he is “agitated,” not angry about SI’s report, according to this AP story.
Deer antler? I’m familiar with this banned substance. My mom kept a packet of deer antler powder in our fridge when I was growing up, along with ginseng, dried red dates, goji berries and a pantry of Chinese herbs. When I asked her what it was for, she said it made you healthier.
My mom, who grew up in Hong Kong, routinely brewed medicinal tonics that boosted immunity, treated colds and protected our bodies from cancer. I don’t know whether they worked, but my parents, brother and I are still here. She also is a registered nurse, trained in England and Hong Kong and certified in the U.S. We used antibiotics and vaccines, but she believed in using both allopathic and traditional Chinese medicine to keep us healthy.
I won’t be tittering over the phrase “deer antler spray.” Because in my family — and a culture shared by 1.3 billion people — it is no weirder than taking a vitamin.
An earlier version of this blog post, published on Jan. 31, 2013 at 8:03 a.m., was corrected at 10:59 a.m. The earlier version incorrectly stated that Ray Lewis was a quarterback. He is a linebacker.