Friday, July 8, 2016

Paul Hornung is pissed, and I'm not sure I blame him: UPDATE!

The National Football League puts out a very entertaining, very violent product that the American public really, really enjoys. Football games are the highest rated sporting events, and the NFL championship, the Super Bowl, is routinely the highest-rated TV event of the year. Until very recently, the NFL kind of side-stepped how violent the game is and how that might adversely affect players. Hell, they used to celebrate the violence with features like this:

When the long-term dangers of concussions became more well-known, the NFL stopped glorifying the hard hits that people really did want to see. Now, an iconic player from my favorite team, the Green Bay Packers, is suing helmet-maker Ridell for failing to provide him with adequate protection:
Pro Football Hall of Famer Paul Hornung, who spent his entire career with the Green Bay Packers, is suing helmet maker Riddell Inc., according to Associated Press, alleging that the helmets he wore his his career did not protect him from brain injury.
Hornung was an amazing player. He was the Packers' kicker for several of the years he played, and until Ladanian Tomlinson of the San Diego Chargers came along, he held the single-season record for points scored -- and did it in fewer games than Tomlinson, who needed 16 games versus Hornung's 12. I am much less impressed by Tomlinson than by Hornung. Tomlinson likely couldn't kick an extra point, much less a field goal.

In any event, I am sorry to hear that Paul Hornung is not doing well. I am not sure about the prospects for his suit, but I hope things turn out well for him. On the other hand, I'm not sure how Ridell can be held responsible -- and more important, legal liable -- for the violence of the game Hornung chose to play, given the limited information available at the time.

Update: Just to be clear, Hornung was the Packers' halfback when he played for them. He was kicker only as an incidental thing for a couple of years, including the year he set the scoring record.

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