Dave Pear on the NFL’s Indifference to Former Players

Awhile ago I mentioned I had stopped watching the NFL because of the league’s indifference and denial of the very real neurological and other problems caused by participating in professional football. Sports Illustrated’s Jeff Perlman ran a profile of former NFL defensive lineman Dave Pear who is quite blunt about how he views his playing experience now,

I wish I never played football. I wish that more than anything. Every single day, I want to take back those years of my life . . .

Pear was a Pro Bowl defensive lineman for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and then won a Super Bowl with the Oakland Raiders in 1981. After 5 years of playing, however, he was out of the league and starting on a lifetime of surgeries and pain. He tells Pearlman he spent his final two seasons at Oakland in constant pain which the team encouraged him to simply play through,

Those last two years in Oakland were very, very difficult times. I was in pain 24 hours per day, and my employers failed to acknowledge my injury. Sure, I won a Super Bowl ring. But was it worth giving up my health for a piece of jewelry? No way. Those diamonds have lost their luster.

Pear has a fascinating blog where he discusses the league’s idiocy and various attempts by retired players to try to get the NFL to own up to its responsibilities.

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5 thoughts on “Dave Pear on the NFL’s Indifference to Former Players”

  1. Yet, you have shilled for Libertarian causes in the past that don’t show much sympathy for a lot of mislead, and disenfranchised individuals. However, your heart seems to soar for this particular cause.

    Who knows if you still buy into any of that, but I find a self-described, Libertarian power nerd’s disgust over this issue a bit hard to take.

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  2. That was a largely incoherent criticism. There is nothing in libertarianism that requires me to support businesses whose practices, while legal, I still find ethically troubling. In fact the NFL, like many similar entities, has flourished due to the financial and other support it receives from federal and state governments. It is not like the NFL is some shining example of the result of free market competition.

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  3. Brian, no one said anything about the religion of free markets (peace be upon them.) We’re discussing your ethical priorities. You can boycott whoever you like, and for whatever reason. However, you still have to answer for your consistencies.

    There are numerous “free market” practices, that, while legal, I find ethically troubling as well. The problem is, Libertarians actively reason these imbalances away under the guise of personal responsibility, and Libertarian free will. Again, in light of this Libertarian premise, from which all other Libertarian arguments flow, your concern seems a bit disingenuous, and well bizarre. Also, did I mention how convenient it seems?

    One could make the same Libertarian arguments in regards to the NFL. While the NFL may appear to have little concern for this issue, their approach is still legal, and it is the responsibility of the players to be aware of the research. Afterall, it’s their health. Stop harassing these poor officials, and encourage more responsibility on the part of NFL players. The NFL creating it sown study to highlight the problems with the other studies, is what corporations done throughout history to combat research that does not display their interests in the best light.

    I thought you were on the side of personal responsibility? Are there any other unethical, yet perfectly legal issues that you are looking to boycott? I’m sure we could both find a more urgent ethical matter that your passion could be redirected towards.

    Besides, if you think truly free markets would encourage ethical improvements, then I have a bridge to sell you. I don’t know what government involvement in the NFL has to do with this issue, but congratulations on finding a way to inject it into the conversation. I’m sure you could weave a nice Libertarian narrative that could successfully blame the government for just about anything.

    It”s good to know that you’re still drinking the Libertarian Kool-Aid. Keep telling the “Just So” stories. You’ve already put yourself out there, so what else can you do, right?

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  4. “There are numerous “free market” practices, that, while legal, I find ethically troubling as well. The problem is, Libertarians actively reason these imbalances away under the guise of personal responsibility, and Libertarian free will. Again, in light of this Libertarian premise, from which all other Libertarian arguments flow, your concern seems a bit disingenuous, and well bizarre. Also, did I mention how convenient it seems?”

    You seem to be arguing that if I find a free market transaction morally repugnant that this is somehow inconsisted with libertarian values — that by advocating a libertarian political regime that I am barred thereafter from making ethical judgments about the actions taken by people within that system.

    So, for example, I think the Supreme Court should decide U.S. v Stevens in favor of the defendants even though I think Stevens behabior is morally reprehensible and would urge people not to purchase or view the videos Stevens was selling.

    But you seem to be saying that my advocacy of Stevens right to sell his videos while at the same time urging people to boycott his product is inconsistent. Maybe you can wrap your head around that, but it seems pretty incoherent to me.

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  5. “You seem to be arguing that if I find a free market transaction morally repugnant that this is somehow inconsisted with libertarian values — that by advocating a libertarian political regime that I am barred thereafter from making ethical judgments about the actions taken by people within that system.”

    No, I am arguing that you priorities in this regard come across as strange, since the issue of personal responsibility allows for these players to make intelligent decisions about their future, regardless of the NFL’s stance on the matter. By not watching NFL football because of the league’s smarmy response to research, you are also affecting the innocent NFL players. Overall, boycotting the NFL won’t do much, if anything, to affect the issue.

    I was just curious if you were actively applying this same ethical evaluation, and passion to much more important issues. I simply think that boycotting the NFL because of their response doesn’t make much sense.

    I don’t think it’s inconsistent with Libertarian principles. I think it’s inconsistent with Libertarian attitudes. However, as you have shown, you may not share the same attitude, and you certainly seem much more affected by human suffering than the average Libertarian. I can certainly respect that. It’s enough for me.

    Anyway, I appreciate your time.

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