THE BLOG
09/08/2015 03:23 pm ET Updated Sep 07, 2016

Confession of an Ex-Football Fan

I came to Pittsburgh in the early seventies, just in time for the Steel Curtain Defense, Chuck Noll, Terry Bradshaw and several marvelous seasons. Football was fun, and galvanized the city.

The first cloud on the horizon was what happened to Mike Webster, the center. After he retired, he had suffered from dementia and an died early. Now we know that such injuries are endemic to the game. Fair enough that the NFL should pay medical expenses, and change the rules to avoid helmet-to-helmet tackles.

But football is still a very violent game. How teams do seems to be controlled by the injury reports as much as anything else. Will tacklers aiming for their opponents' knees instead of their heads make us happy? So the retired football players will be unable to walk, rather than unable to think?

As a fan, these football players are public figures I care about as people. Am I pleased that they have been, rather literally, beating their brains out on my behalf? Is that what I want for them?

It is now clear that to play football is self-destructive. It makes me sad to see people do that to themselves. I can't watch it anymore.