“From the White House to the Hill to the bus stop, everyone in Washington was talking about one subject this week: RGIII,” Mark Shields said on this weekend’s edition of Inside Washington, as I started involuntarily twitching. “By far, it was the most discussed topic inside Washington.”
Honestly, from Strasburg to Harper to RGIII, political pundits have gorged on sports talk this year. Back off, pundits. Or I’m gonna suggest that LaVar Arrington, Jason Reid and I engage in some sequestration debates on this week’s edition of Post Sports Live. Or at least that we all attempt to spell sequestration backwards.
“This is a guy who’s already had a concussion, and they played him, and he already had a knee injury, and they played him,” NPR’s Nina Totenberg thundered. “They played him before the playoffs. I mean, this is gladiator-land. It’s my problem with football. We had a former football player who had committed suicide, Junior Seau, and his family asked NIH to look at his brain, and he had deteriorating brain [tissue] from the autopsy, that was the conclusion. We know this is a problem in the NFL. It’s more than a problem. It is really horrible.”
“We can spend a lot of time on this, but it’s the nature of the sport,” The Post’s Colby King countered. “I came out of the game in high school, left because of a knee injury. My son had the same kind of injury in high school and had surgery. It’s not baseball, it’s not tennis, it’s a different kind of sport, it’s a contact sport.”
“What makes this hard is that he wasn’t just another athlete,” Evan Thomas chimed in. “He’s a great guy. The city fell in love with him because of his person, because he’s well-spoken, because he’s intelligent, and so it’s added to the pathos. But the fact is it’s a rough game, and people get terribly hurt and that’s been always true, and it’s never gonna change.”
“Look, football, somebody once said, isn’t a contact sport,” Charles Krauthammer added. “Square dancing is a contact sport. [Football's] a collision sport. At high speeds, very heavy men, heavier and stronger than ever. It’s the nature of the game, and the NFL’s gonna have a problem with all these suits. The lawsuits, the lawyers, the concussions, in the end are gonna question the very existence of the game…We saw with RGIII, he showed tremendous courage, he demanded to go out there. He said to his coach I deserve this, I’ve earned it, and he went out there. But a coach in his 60s ought to overrule a 20-year old who says he wants to do that.”
“Could I give a tip of the hat to the Washington Nationals, who did this right?” Totenberg asked. “They had Stephen Salzburg [sic], their star pitcher. He had surgery, he did 20 games? He wanted to go in desperately, his father wanted him to go in. They stopped him. And they were contenders. I mean, they were contenders for the national championship, and they may have lost because he wasn’t there. And they said no, it will be dangerous for you, you are important, you have a life, we invested in you, you don’t go play any more this year.”
Well done, everyone. And now let me get ready to debate LaVar on the assault weapons ban.