The award-winning Shaker Heights High School student news organization

The Shakerite

The award-winning Shaker Heights High School student news organization

The Shakerite

The award-winning Shaker Heights High School student news organization

The Shakerite

Culture of Violence and Brutality in Football Needs to Change

Greg Williams is every parent’s nightmare.

If you haven’t heard it yet, I’ll just tell you it’s scary. I’m talking about the recording of Greg Williams’ speech to his defense before the NFC divisional playoffs last fall.

On the audiotape, Williams, former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator, using expressions such as “kill the head and the body will die,” tells Saints players that they should injure the 49ers. According to the NFL, Greg Williams and the Saints defense placed cash bounties on opposing players for years.

The NFL’s crackdown on Williams and the Saints indicates that the league finally acknowledges that football’s increasing brutality is unsustainable. The long-term effects of concussions and collisions are damaging players’ brains and shortening their lives.

With more than 1,500 former NFL players suing the league over concussions, and the recent suicide of Junior Seau, a 19-year linebacker, the issue can no longer be ignored.

Scientists think that even small hits slowly add up, damaging the brain. Retired football players are contracting brain diseases at a rate 19 times higher than ordinary men according to an NFL study. Already 20 players have died from progressive brain diseases.

It’s time for a change. No longer can we send fathers, husbands and sons onto the field knowing that every hit may shorten their lives. As the truth about football head injures emerges, how do you think parents feel today when they see their sons lying on the ground after a brutal hit?

Change is needed. Better protection from concussions and head injuries is needed, such as stricter rules about hits, better guidelines for returning to play and more protective helmets. If this doesn’t happen soon, even more retired football players will die in their 40s.

But we, the fans, are also to blame, as we indulge in the game, and pay for its existence. The culture of violence needs to change; there can be no more headhunters, no more fans cheering at bone-crushing hits. We need to stop buying the TV packages, gear and tickets, because without its main source of revenue, the NFL will have to institute change.

I love football as much as you do. But, change is needed, and we the fans need to create it. Helmets can only do so much, but if we, the fans of football stop indulging in the violence of football, we can change the game.

We, the fans of football, in order to keep the game alive, need to call on the NFL to change the game, so that the players are safe, so that there won’t be any more Junior Seau’s, and so that no more parents fear their sons will pay for a hit with their lives.

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