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Sheldon Hirsch - October 16, 2014

The recent series of shameful episodes involving NFL players prompted renewed speculation that on-field head trauma contributes to off-field violence. Bob Costas added a wrinkle, pointing out that when out-of-control NFL player Greg Hardy threw a woman onto a couch, she landed on a variety of shotguns and assault weapons. With other gun-related incidents in mind (for example, Jovan Belcher’s murder/suicide; Dave Duerson’s and Junior Seau’s suicides; Aaron Hernandez’s murder charge, and more), Costas suggested that the NFL worry about guns.

(Costas' 2012 rant on gun violence)

Let’s review the evidence.

A recent study pursuant to the NFL’s concussion suit suggested that nearly 30 percent of NFL players eventually develop significant brain damage, widely attributed to head trauma suffered on the field. 

Pathologists commonly find unusual tangles of tau protein in the brains of NFL players at autopsies. The tau protein allegedly forms the link between head trauma and the impaired cognition and other clinical features characteristic of a syndrome called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). 

Both direct and countrecoup (when the brain bounces off the skull opposite the initial contact site) impact may damage the frontal lobe. This area does not fully develop in males... read more »

Sheldon Hirsch - October 11, 2014

I’ve had zero sympathy for Adrian Peterson and the defense of his alleged child beating. Reasonable people practice tolerance of other cultures but cultural differences do not justify all behavior. "The way we've always done it" does not constitute a reasoned argument in the face of common sense and modern thinking.

On the other hand, Peterson deserves fair and rational treatment from the legal system.

We just learned that prosecutor Brett Ligon filed a motion asking to jail Peterson for violating the terms of his bond. The prosecutor's office wrote, apparently with a straight face, "The state argues that the defendant has smoked marijuana while on bond." Marijuana remains an illegal drug in Texas, so by the letter of the law, Peterson violated his bond provisions.

The jail request violates decency and common sense.

It does the nearly impossible: It makes Adrian Peterson deserving of some sympathy. 

Courts typically deny bail when the accused presents a flight risk or a danger to society. If the state did not previously consider Peterson a flight risk or a danger to society, why worry now? (The County already filed a petition asking to restrict Peterson to supervised visits with his son.) What about marijuana - increasingly legalized; used by many high-functioning people including prosecutors - concerns Mr. Ligon to the extent of asking for incarceration?

The worst part may be that some legal analysts predict that Ligon’s motion will be granted.

I'd prefer a counter-motion for prosecutorial misconduct, if... read more »

Jack Beaman - October 10, 2014

Earlier this week, Houston Texans running back Arian Foster voiced his disdain for Thursday Night Football. His argument was simple: the NFL acts like it cares about player safety, but then turns around and gives players a shorter recovery time between games. 

Concerns have been voiced about TNF for awhile now, but with the league increasingly lambasted over player safety, the playing of weekday games is beginning to take center stage. Simply put, the NFL can't continue to preach player safety when its priorities are clearly all about making as much money as possible. And Thursday Night Football is about big money. CBS is paying the NFL $275 million for this season's eight-game package.

So what’s the NFL’s answer to critics who say the Thursday night contests are putting the health of its players needlessly at risk? The league commissioned an injury study that purports to show that roughly the same amount of injuries take place during Thursday night games as Sunday games.

But the players are talking about something more than high profile, carry-them-off-the-field injuries. They speak of the wear and tear and fatigue that go with less recovery time. The quick turnaround makes a football player's week leading up to the game — the grind that no one really talks about — that much harder. Those days after a game are absolutely brutal, and having three fewer days to heal makes it even worse. As Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson told Sports Illustrated’s Robert Klemko, “I guess because they don’t... read more »

Samuel Chi - October 07, 2014

When you set foot on an American college campus, please check your U.S. constitution at the entry gate.

In their zest to show their faith at the political correctness altar, university administrators are competing to see who can shred the constitution the fastest. Especially when it comes to matters of sexual assault and sexual harassment, accusations that wouldn't get ordinary citizens arrested would now be enough to ruin someone's life.

Three weeks ago, Princeton became the final Ivy League school to lower that bar, where now a tribunal will adjudicate all sex offense complaints and can convict on simple preponderance of evidence (a 50.0001 percent threshold). A defendant (or his representative) would have no right to confront his accuser and may be expelled and branded as a rapist based on a 2-1 vote by such a tribunal even if he were never criminally charged.

Of course, these actions were the result of Obama Administration's ideological onslaught to expand Title IX and the Eric Holder Justice Department's zealous enforcement of it. In order to prove that there's a "War on Women" going on, they need to vigorously defend against their imaginary enemies.

Title IX's corrosive effects have long been felt in athletics, where universities are required... read more »