Would You Let Your Son Play Football?

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So: Are you going to let your son play football?

I’m not. And if you’re like growing numbers of parents, you won’t either: Pop Warner participation rates dropped almost 10 percent between 2010 and 2012. Why? Because we love our sons, and we are worried that the rough, tumble, and hard knocks of a football game might turn their brains into soup.

There’s a name for the soup: CTE, chronic traumatic encephalopathy. It’s a brain-wasting disease notable for producing depression, sharp personality changes, and erratic, even violent behavior among those who suffer from it — and those who suffer from it seem to be disproportionately people who hit and get hit for a living: Football players. I’ve written about it before, noting that it seemed connected to the suicides of Penn lineman Owen Thomas and former Eagles standout Andre Waters, and asking whether it might’ve had anything to do with the murder charges against former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez.

It’s worth revisiting now because of three reports that emerged in recent weeks: Read more »

Can’t a Guy Get a Beer in This Town Without Freaking Football Blaring in the Background?

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During football season, Eagles talk — and also Eagles shouting, Eagles yelling and Eagles screaming — hangs in the air with a ubiquity rivaled only by oxygen. It dominates your television, your radio, your phones both smart and dumb, your already-fucked-up Facebook feed. It soaks into workplace asides, sidewalk encounters, waiting-room chats, barroom blather. It is everywhere. And for a large percentage of Philadelphians, this is an invigorating and compelling reality. We’ve waited all year, and it’s finally here! E-A-G…

For a much smaller portion of the population, however, the return of the National Football League spells hell. Living in Philly and rooting for a team other than the Eagles is an interesting existence, as we’ve recently discussed. But what about those who detest not only the Eagles, but the entire NFL and the controversial culture it’s spawned?

Joey Sweeney, founder and editor of the long-running city blog Philebrity, wants you.

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Is This the NFL’s Next Commissioner?

Should Condi Rice be the next NFL commissioner?

Should Condi Rice be the next NFL commissioner?

It seems clear that Roger Goodell is finished as commissioner of the NFL.

His silence on the arrests of NFL players Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy, Ray McDonald and Jonathan Dwyer has been deafening. The man Time once dubbed “The Enforcer” is persona non grata since his fumbling of the Ray Rice case.

The public relations impotency of the once-heralded Goodell has forced owners to do something they hate to do – talk to the fans about team problems. That’s what the commissioner is supposed to be for. He is a useful mouthpiece when things are bad.

The NFL investigation of the Ray Rice debacle is a formality. Roger Goodell will be fired or he will resign, not because he didn’t take domestic abuse seriously, but because he hurt the NFL brand and almost cost the league billions in endorsements.

So who is in line to replace Goodell when he is kicked to the curb?

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Rihanna Was Right to Tell Off CBS Over Thursday Night Football Decision

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There is nothing that is — or perhaps can be — written about Rihanna without talking about the events that transpired on Grammy night in 2009. Similarly, there is rarely mention of Tina Turner without an acknowledgment of the abuse she suffered at the hands of her husband Ike. Domestic violence leaves a mark long after the bruises fade — and usually on the reputation of the abused.

The NFL’s reputation is taking its own beating, first with the release of the video capturing Ray Rice’s violent physical assault against his then-fiancée, next the child abuse allegations against Adrian Peterson. In efforts to demonstrate some long-absent self-awareness, CBS opted out of the network’s planned opening sequence, which included a song by Rihanna. It can be argued that the network opted to refit the opener with a more appropriately somber tone, though CBS executive Sean McManus did point to the singer’s previous bouts as a domestic violence victim as part of the deciding factor to pull the song last week.

True to form, Rihanna took to Twitter to express her displeasure:

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What Would It Take for You to Ditch Your Favorite NFL Player’s Jersey?

Janay Rice, left, looks on as her husband, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, speaks to the media during a news conference in Owings Mills, Md. on May 23rd, 2014.

Janay Rice, left, looks on as her husband, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, speaks to the media during a news conference in Owings Mills, Md. on May 23rd, 2014.

In the never-ending struggle between athlete worship and self-dignity, take a wild stab at which won out last week in Baltimore amidst the lingering fog of the Ray Rice scandal.

Yep, Ravens fans displayed their Rice jerseys proudly, a middle finger to the world as a show of support for their deposed halfback, who only days before had been suspended by the NFL for the season. After all, Rice had been one of the heroes who brought the town a Super Bowl. And how could anybody be heathen enough to forget that, even when you measure it up against the menacing left hook that knocked his girlfriend out cold.

A woman — yes, a woman — was interviewed by the network televising the game and she said that Rice’s girlfriend hit him too and that if you hit a guy then you better be prepared to get it back, or something as obtuse as that. My Twitter started humming the day after when, on my radio show, I railed into the Baltimore fans for being so spineless.

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Eagles Fan Posts ‘Fly Eagles Fly’ Tweet on Giants Punter’s Twitter Account

Steve Weatherford is the punter for the New York Giants. He’s not the beloved punter who kicked it to DeSean Jackson in the Eagles’ 2011 comeback, so you probably don’t have much of an opinion of him. Sure, he plays for a rival of the Eagles, but he’s the punter.

Well, apparently his Twitter password was easy to guess. Because, for a brief moment on Tuesday, his Twitter account said this:

The Giants are stink and I’m no good! Fly eagles fly!

Weatherford’s tweet was correct. The Giants are stink. But, apparently, that wasn’t Weatherford’s true opinion.

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Ex-FBI Director Will Probe NFL’s Handling of Ray Rice

Just hours after the AP reported a police source had previously sent the NFL a tape of Ray Rice knocking his future wife unconscious with a punch, the NFL announced former FBI director Robert Mueller will investigate what the NFL knew about the incident.

Rice was originally suspended two games for the February assault of Janay Palmer, now Janay Rice, at Revel in Atlantic City. There was an outcry over the short suspension — Wes Welker got a suspension twice as long for taking amphetamines at the Kentucky Derby — but it appeared the event had blown over for the NFL (and for Rice, who had his charges dismissed as part of pre-trial intervention).

But earlier this week TMZ released a graphic video of Rice punching his now-wife Janay, and the NFL finally acted more strongly: The Ravens cut Rice, and the NFL suspended him indefinitely. The NFL claimed it had not seen the video, but a law enforcement source played for the Associated Press an April 9th voicemail that confirmed the receipt of the Ray Rice tape. “You’re right. It’s terrible,” the caller in the voicemail said.

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Wait, People Are Still Victim Blaming Janay Rice?

Janay Rice, left, looks on as her husband, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, speaks to the media during a news conference in Owings Mills, Md. on May 23rd, 2014.

Janay Rice, left, looks on as her husband, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, speaks to the media during a news conference in Owings Mills, Md. on May 23rd, 2014.

In case you missed it, Janay Rice has already apologized.

At a May news conference, she sat next to her husband and said she regretted “the role that she played in that night” – that night being the one during which she was attacked in an elevator by a professional football player, knocked unconscious, and dragged away.

It was awkward then, when the simple assault charges against her had already been dropped and we only strongly suspected what the first half of that Revel Casino surveillance tape showed. Now that we know – now that we have seen what happened before Ray Rice dragged his then-fiancée’s body out of an elevator – do we really want her to explain herself again?

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TMZ Releases New Video of Ray Rice Knocking Out Fiancée in Atlantic City

[UPDATE: 2:54 p.m.] SB Nation reports that Ray Rice is no longer a member of the Baltimore Ravens, following furor over leaked video of Rice punching his then-fiancee:

The Baltimore Ravens have released running back Ray Rice, the team announced on Monday afternoon. The release comes following a video of him striking his then-fiancee Janay Palmer and knocking her unconscious leaked Monday through TMZ.

[ORIGINAL: 7:59 a.m.] Warning: This is brutal.

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