Posted by Josh Katzowitz
Browns linebacker Scott Fujita has been one of the most outspoken supports of the players during labor negotiations (hint: that’s probably because he’s a union executive member). Now, his wife, Jaclyn, has something she wants to say.
She’s written a letter, as posted on thenation.com, and in it, she pleads for the owners to give the players adequate lifelong health care so that when the players’ bodies begin to break down as they enter middle age, they won’t have to bankrupt themselves in order to manage their pain and symptoms.
Here’s some of the letter:
Honestly, though, I don't know that we were fully aware of the ultimate reality of the National Football League. We learned the hard way that he would work his ass into the ground, playing every defensive down and special teams, and would be the lowest paid man on the roster. That he would experience multiple concussions, but remain on the field. That he would suffer full ligament tears and shouldn't have been walking, but team doctors would tell him it was a "minor sprain" and should still play. That even though you have given your heart and soul to a team, they can easily replace you with a rookie who has never played in the NFL before. …
Now I know many don't want to hear our complaints: we made our bed and now we have to lie in it. But what about the pro football players of tomorrow who have no idea what they are stepping into? Boys who are playing football because they love it and have found something they are really good at? They see the pride on their family's faces every time they strap on that helmet, but these young men have no idea of the pain they will endure or the true uncertainty of their career choice. They have no idea how long they will work or when their bodies will say "no" to the abuse. What these men need to know is that as they step on the field and risk major injury—while generating billions of dollars for this industry—the billionaires who write the checks are not looking out for them. They need to know that they are going to be lied to. They need to know that when they suffer an injury they will be told they should buck up and play. ..
And here they are, simply asking the men who profit from their work, to PLEASE look after their health, as they should have done throughout their career. They ask this so that someday, the young boy who chooses this path knows he will be protected the way he deserves. So his mother, wife, or child will know that even though that hit looks awful, there is someone on the sideline with his best interests at heart. So future NFL wives who watch their husbands unable to get out of a chair on a Tuesday, yet still strap it come Sunday, will be taken care of. So the man who is sacrificing his body and mind for the thrill of the game can be confident that his work will not go unnoticed. He will not be forgotten. He will not go unprotected. He will have earned the right to be taken care of for life. He will be kept safe from his damaged body and mind. For it was those bodies and minds of 53 men on 32 teams who every year generate billions of dollars for this industry. They deserve to be cared about.”
That’s only three paragraphs (albeit, three looonnnng grafs), but make sure to click the above link because Jaclyn Fujita has written a very compelling letter
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