Yesterday, the guys played audio from Malcolm Gladwell where he called football "a moral abomination". Glenn, Pat, and Stu strongly disagreed with this position, but they wanted to get a deeper understanding from Malcolm himself. After all, they are big fans of Gladwell and Glenn believes he is a genius. Was Malcolm able to change their minds?
"My whole position on this is out of love, not out of hate. I mean, I've been obsessed with football for most of my life," Gladwell said. "Now, you have to agree with me and you don't have to think the game is wrong or whatever, you just have to consider for a moment, the implications of, what does it mean to watch a game where the game itself will injure permanently and seriously some portion of the players on the field. You have to think about that."
"I have the biggest problems with the game at the high school and college level, where people are not getting paid and they're not adults and where we know the medical risks for kids for concussions are more serious," he added.
Stu, however, argued that there is inherent risk in almost any situation and we will never know all the facts before having to make a decision.
"Isn't this the situation, Malcolm, you could say this about almost any activity? Of course, there's some inherent risk. Of course, we're always learning more. We won't get to that magical end point where we have all the perfect information and we can explain the risks perfectly. We're going to be learning more. Science will always be gaining more information. You know, the consensus was for a long time that these concussions did not add up. We now believe they do. Because of that, helmets are improving," Stu said.
"Some of these concussion protocols fine. But last year, I was watching Wes Welker last year. And he had two concussions in the span of a couple of weeks. And for a guy in his 30s, who must have had I don't know how many lifetime concussions he's had, to go back on the field and then play in the playoffs, that was like -- I felt -- I was horrified by that," Gladwell said.
Gladwell added that his thinking on this topic is changing and in a lot of ways he is talking out loud while trying to find answers.
"What's going on here is something really important, which is our understanding of the nature of neurological damage and brain injury. We've learned more in the last five or ten years about this, and it's just completely changed our perspective on this kind of injury. And these all things have to catch up. Attitudes have to catch up," Gladwell said,
"What you've put on your finger on, the question of veterans is vastly more important than the question of football. It dwarfs it in importance. And people have got to understand. You have, long after the soldier comes up, you have an obligation towards that person who put his life on the line for your country. You can't walk away once the guys back home puts down his weapon. These injuries stay with people for the rest of their lives."