I was never a Chargers fan, and it's been a long time since I was a fan of the NFL, but the death (and apparent suicide) of Junior Seau hurt me. It hit me harder than I though any NFL news could at this point. I'll have incoherent thoughts below the fold, and I imagine that others will have more sensible thoughts.
I used to be a huge Vikings fan. I wore an Alan Page jersey when I was five years old. I waited for the Vikes to get that signature quarterback, from Two-Martini Tommy Kramer to Wade Wilson to Rich Gannon to Jim MacMahon to Warren Moon to Jeff George to Randall Cunningham to Daunte Culpepper. And then I stopped (that's a different story that doesn't belong here).
I loved John Randle. Hell, I was predisposed to loving the defensive line since Alan Page. Chris "Bulldog" Doleman was my hero while he played. I liked Keith Millard and Al Noga. Joey Browner was my hero, just because of the Thanksgiving Day play when he picked up a Dallas Cowboy by the knees and threw him out of the end zone.
What I'm saying is that I watched a lot of football for a long time. Junior Seau was an incredible player on a crappy team for a lot of those years. His hustle, tenacity, and intensity were traits to be celebrated and emulated. This was a brutal game, and Seau never shirked from its brutality--just like the rest of my heroes. Seau was a font of activity. Nobody matched his motor. And now he's dead--way too young--and there's some reason to believe that his brain injuries were at fault.
This is unreal. It's unconscionable. If this continues, we're essentially letting giant humans gamble on their future mental, physical, psychological, and emotional well-being. I don't think that gamble is worth the entertainment value.
And if the NBA is going to allow things like MWP's elbow-strike to James Harden, I don't know how they can justify themselves, either.