It’s the offseason. There’s no football on, and there won’t be for a long, long time. You’re hurt. You’re angry. You’re hateful. We understand. At KSK, hating things is what we do best. Which is why we have the ongoing series This Week In F–K You. This week: Troy Aikman.
Over the past few years, a number of professional BIG PICTURE writers whose hustle it is to try to predict seismic shifts in cultural thinking (Malcolm Gladwell of course foremost among them, but other, less obviously gimmicky writers as well) have laid out the argument that the issue of football’s inability to deal with concussions will eventually marginalize or possibly even destroy the reigning king of American sports and things that are great.
I’m not saying these people are necessarily wrong. I’m saying that I hate them because they are telling me things that I don’t wish to hear. QUIT ADDING TO MY WORRIES, JERKS! JUST LET US GET PAST THIS YEAR’S APOCALYPSE FIRST, ALL RIGHT!? Anyway, the scenarios put forth by these writers are certainly plausible (if not in some cases probable, if changes aren’t made). That said, the timeline of events occurs far off enough that if they’re wrong, no one will remember or care 20 years from now that someone wrote that football is doomed.
Some players, current and former, echo these concerns. That’s fair; they’re the ones suffering the concussions and not getting enough support from the league, after all. In almost all cases, I have no issue with this. Until it’s fucking Troy Aikman.
Aikman does not have a son, but said, “if I did, I wouldn’t tell him he couldn’t play football. If he wanted to, I would say ‘OK, great.’ But I don’t know if I would be encouraging him to play. Whereas, with the other sports, you want your kids to be active and doing those types of things.”
“Gosh, I don’t know. Concussions are horrible, unless he really wants to have one, in which case, okay, great!”
Look, if Troy Aikman had an issue with his non-existent son playing football because of concussions, I wouldn’t normally hold it against the guy. He had 10 concussions in his playing career. I’m surprised his brain functions well enough to agree with everything Joe Buck says in the booth.
But Aikman refuses to talk about the issue on the air at FOX, because of a desire not to be the “poster boy” of the issue or somesuch other bullshit. Or maybe because it would cause a great furrowing of brows with the higher-ups.
Aikman said he is not interested in using his standing and position to comment on the concussion issue.
“I have had a few people question why I haven’t gotten in that discussion during broadcasts,” Aikman said. “The reason I have not is two-fold. I don’t want to be the poster boy for head injury. I shouldn’t be the poster boy for head injury. I have really tried to distance myself from that. I’m 44 years old. I’m completely healthy. I have an active lifestyle. I don’t want to be looked at as one who is experiencing some of these things that other players talk about. Because I’m not. I have been asked to go talk to Congress. I declined. I have not done interviews on it. That’s number one.
“Number two, my experience with them is they are all different,” Aikman said. “And so then to try to talk about my experience and how it relates to someone who is dealing with it in today’s game, Aaron Rodgers for instance, I don’t think I’m really on top of what that guy is feeling. I’ve always tried to stay away from speculating on any type of injury anyway. You say, wow, that looks like he might have injured his knee there. But I leave it at that. I don’t go into ‘I think that’s an ACL.’ I tend to stay away from it. It’s a serious deal and I don’t answer the questions about it lightly or minimize how significant it is. That’s how I have approached it.”
So poster boy of Concussed Nation equals bad, but it’s somehow okay for Aikman to join a panel discussing the prospect of professional football in L.A. and then open up on his worries about concussions vis-a-vis the future of the sport? And when he does decide to be critical, he couches concussions as only serious enough to deter a young person from football unless he really wants to do play. I guess I should be happy that a former player isn’t steadfast in his opposition to the game, instead I’m just annoyed that Aikman is a cockweasel.
It probably didn’t help that Aikman went on to attribute the lack of a team in L.A. to there being a vague sense of oversaturation of professional football that I’ve never previously heard of.
“At one time, watching football was an event,” Aikman said. “Monday Night Football was a big event. Now you get football Sunday, you get it Monday, you get it Thursday and, late in the year, you get it on Saturday.
“People in Los Angeles realized, ‘You know what, life’s OK without the NFL.’ If I’m an owner, I don’t want any fan thinking that.”
WHEN THE FUCK DIDN’T ANY REGULAR SEASON FOOTBALL GAME, REGARDLESS OF CONSEQUENCE, NOT BE A NATIONAL EVENT!? AMERICANS WATCH NFL GAME IN STAGGERING NUMBERS! FUCKING DROVES! Millions of people even watch the Pro Bowl, despite the Pro Bowl being the worst. Don’t confuse Angelenos being above-it-all assholes with a waning interest in the sport. If anything, you should never squander a chance to talk shit about them.