Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Our Game

Another football season is cranking up. I love watching football. The Bears squeaked out a win in their first preseason matchup last night.

The more I've watched sports and sports media, the more I've become sympathetic to the players. Rookie Bears running back Cedrick Benson, touted as a real workhorse during the draft, is holding out for more money. I think he should get it.

This young man is going to be carrying a football 20-25 times a game for 17 weeks _ maybe more. He's running straight at 300-400-pound men every time. He's getting crushed at the bottom of piles and blind-sided. He should get all the money he wants. He could blow out his knee in the first week, and then where would he be? He has a family, no doubt. And even if he makes it through a 10 year career (doesn't go far beyond that for a back), his body may be damaged in hundreds of ways.

Let him have the money. If we continue to go to sporting events, watch them on TV, project ourselves upon the players and coaches... if the teams and leagues and networks continue to hype the games and sell the tickets, then let Cedrick Benson, whose body is a sacrafice, have as much money as he wants. He is not selfish. As long as we want him to run, he is not selfish. As long as the idea of professional athletics persists, he is not selfish. If the football game continues as our escape or need or diversion, then the players should be compensated.

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