Unfortunately, many times it does not. A couple of weeks ago, I plopped my ass down to watch some tv on a Saturday morning. As I was flipping thru the channels, I stumbled across an episode of Outside the Lines on ESPN. Normally, I really enjoy this show as it usually delves into a sports issue much like a newsmagazine show would.
On this particular Saturday, our boy Bob Ley of Outside the Lines was interviewing former QB for the Chicago Bears, Jim McMahon. If you don’t recall, Jim McMahon was the QB of the Super Bowl Champion Bears in 1985. Unfortunately for the Chicago Bears, he is probably the most talented QB they have had in 30 years. However, that is a whole another issue.
Anyways, Jim McMahon was being interviewed because he played during an era in the NFL where concussions were not as carefully examined as they are now. He estimates that during his playing career, he received a number of concussions that went undiagnosed. Because of that negligence by the NFL (as he calls it), he is now suffering from memory loss, chronic headaches, and is losing the ability to walk. So what does he do about this? He, along with six other former players decide to sue the NFL because it is their fault. As he says “back then you just took an aspirin and went back out there.”
Oh ok Jim, I guess there were guns pointed to your head saying that if you didn’t go back out onto the field, the people holding those guns were going to shoot you. And those same guns were telling you that you should play football…..OR ELSE! The other thing that our boy Jim said was that he wasn’t sure when he had a concussion or not. The trainer would just do the finger and eye test and if you cleared that, you were good to go. From personal experience, I know when I received a concussion. So, I am not quite sure what Jim is even talking about. When I received a concussion, I had instant memory loss of the entire event that had occurred, I had the worst headache of my life, and my eyes could not focus.
Why in our society, when something goes wrong in our lives, do we just immediately look for someone to blame? Why do we never, or seldom take responsibility for our actions? I am reminded of the woman who made millions by suing McDonald’s because she spilled hot coffee on herself. That was McDonald’s fault obviously because there was not a warning that the coffee was hot on the cup. It wasn’t her fault for spilling it on herself, just like it isn’t Jim’s fault that he decided to play a violent, hard hitting football game for his career. Of course it is the NFL’s fault. I mean they are the ones who strapped on his helmet, and made him go back out there time and after time. If you decide to play football, fine, but that doesn’t make you oblivious to the risks that you are exposing yourself too.
If you choose to participate in something, whether it is a job, a sport, a crime etc. Fine, but instead of pointing fingers, let’s look inward and notice that by choosing to participate, you also choose the risks that may be involved. If I choose to get a cup of coffee, I run the risk of spilling it on myself. It is not the cup nor the coffee company’s fault.