Paul George’s concussion made me think of the countless times we, as players, mislead the trainer and medical staff. It was a badge of honor to get back on the field. And even though I know things have changed with concussions in sports, I think there’s still a gladiatorial mentality that exists in professional sports.
We are Rome. Gladiators were used as sport for the masses, they entertained. They often times were slaves or came from a poor background or were criminals.
Although this is certainly not the case with professional athletes today, one could argue this is where professional sports may be headed.
Let me proffer this: what would be wrong with making professional athletes — starting with football — sign waivers when they entered the sport? They waive the right to sue the league when they are done playing. In exchange, the league covers all medical costs for the player’s life. The player signs an ironclad waiver in exchange for making exceptional money and receives guaranteed medical coverage for life.
I think this would be acceptable to most players. I know it wouldn’t have bothered me. I would have accepted the risks without hesitation, even knowing what I know today about concussions. And I think owners would be okay with that agreement as well.
But how would fans feel about that? That’s the bigger question. After all, there can be no league without owners, there can be no game without players, and there can be no pay without fans.