For years, the position of the NFL on concussions has been that playing a game involving violent headfirst collisions had no connection to future brain injuries.

But in August, the NFL, and its commissioner, Roger Goodell, did a dramatic about-face, putting up in NFL locker rooms concussion advisory posters de scribed by players as “shocking.” The posters encourage players to report head trauma, and they ask for players to tell team officials if teammates are suffering the effects and not telling anyone. The posters detail that “dementia, depression, and memory problems can occur if concussions aren’t treated properly.” They make clear that these injuries “can change your life and your family’s life forever.”

How to account for this turn?

I spoke with former NFL All-Pro nose tackle Dave Pear, who has become a relentless critic of the NFL’s and the NFL Players Association’s handling of the issue.

“This is about Roger Goodell, that fraud, covering his own ass,” said Pear. “The league had opened itself up to billions in liability claims. By claiming that the sport doesn’t cause concussions, or that concussions don’t lead to dementia and the rest of it, they had opened themselves up to legal Armageddon.”

The science, unfortunately for the league, is now profoundly outpacing its ability to stage a proper public relations spin.

How long will it be until football becomes like boxing, a sport that marginalized itself by the horrors of the slurred speech and broken motor systems of a generation of champions?

It’s terribly ironic that football could be felled by the very mechanism that sent it rocketing to success: the commercialized, commodified violence that looks great on TV but spurs outrage once the cameras shut off. Now that our culture never turns the cameras off, the NFL will pay the price.

This is but an excerpt from Zirin's article in the October issue. To read the full article, and the entire October issue, and to subscribe to The Progressive for just $14.97 (a 75% discount!), simply click here. Zirin's in every issue. Don't miss him!

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Forty years ago the UN General Assembly passed a resolution against "hostile environmental modification techniques...

The beauty and the tragedy of everyday life in a war zone.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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