Much has been said in the past day about the suicide of 12-time Pro Bowl LB Junior Seau, little of it as nonsensical as the radio & twitter blatherings of Sirius/XM’s Dino Costa, all-too-quick to proclaim Seau a coward for abandoning his children. Aside from the irony of Costa, a slow-witted bully who blocks Twitter followers who have the temerity to expose his hatefuck commentary calling anyone else a pussy, I’d think he’d have just a bit of compassion for Seau given the broadcaster’s own firsthand experience at going thru life with brain damage. It will be a while before we know for certain about the condition of Seau’s brain, but in the view of CSN Bay Area’s Ray Ratto, the former Chargers icon’s decision to aim for his own chest serves as it’s own sort of suicide note, if not, “Roger Goodell’s worst nightmare” (“Seau’s suicide means that we can no longer un-know the fears of its greatest players for an uncertain and potentially horrifying future”)
We looked the other way with boxing. We looked the other way with hockey, and we’re going to look the other way with MMA when more data comes in. We tolerate nearly anything that happens to others in pursuit of our own entertainment, and if we are the entertainers, we will tolerate nearly anything that allows us to get paid for it.
But when Junior Seau killed himself, he forced us to accept that a famous and much-beloved figure is now going to be linked to the grisliest unpleasantness about the sport. You can still love football. We aren’t taking you on a perp walk of shame here, or trying to make you hate what you love. That choice was, is, and should always be yours for as long as football is legal.
But this is also true. You can never say Junior Seau didn’t tell you what he believed comes with the game. Even if his death was completely unrelated to trauma, and it may be, he feared it enough to choose a specific way of suicide to save what he thought would be the incriminating evidence, and that is information players will have to live with, whether they make the NFL or stop after high school.