On Erik Kramer …

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In case you missed the news, former NFL quarterback Erik Kramer attempted suicide two days ago.

He shot himself, his ex-wife said, in an effort to end his life. Marshawn Kramer (his ex) says Erik has suffered through years and years of awfulness. “He is a very amazing man, a beautiful soul, but he has suffered depression since he was with the Bears,” Marshawn Kramer said in a telephone interview with NBC News. “I can promise you he is not the same man I married.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about football lately; about the NFL and Pop Warner and all levels in between. I’ve been thinking about those commercials the league puts out; the ones about proper coaching and technique making the game safer.

I’ve been thinking about all the absolute bullshit.

In short, you have to be crazy to let your kids play tackle football in 2015. Seriously. It’s the equivalent of letting your kids smoke cigarettes, or box. The risk of injury is so real and so severe … it just makes no sense. Especially when there are 101 other options out there, from baseball to golf to running to basketball to lacrosse, that don’t involve the repeated (play after play after play) slamming of helmet into helmet as a loud fat man, frothing from the gums, screams at you for being a pussy.

We glorify our athletes, because we’re too simplistic to glorify our scientists and mathematicians. We hoist gridiron warriors up, because we admire their physicality and toughness. We look at people like Peyton Manning and Dez Bryant and Victor Cruz and tell our kids that there, before them, are the faces of manhood.

And then, when those faces of manhood wind up in hotel rooms, lonely, with a pistol to their heads, we sigh and move on to the next hero.


And over.

And over.


13 thoughts on “On Erik Kramer …”

  1. Sad on multiple levels. Erik Kramer was one of my early childhood heroes, resurrecting N.C. State from total irrelevancy before his pro career. He was charismatic as well as a heck of a player. Great post Jeff.

  2. You mention running.
    I live in Tracktown USA, and there has always been huge support for Track and Field.
    When I was young my heroes were Dyrol Burleson, Neal Steinhauer, Harry Jerome, Wade Bell, Jim Grelle and many others.
    This year during the NCAA outdoor championships there were over 11,000 fans…and not one single report on ESPN, SI, or Bleacher. At least not on the internet.
    It is a mind set, because track and field has the excitement necessary, just no publicity.
    Meanwhile that other sport here has fans all over the world, Oregon Duck Football.

  3. So quit writing about football—arent you and your “ilk” contributing to this supposed killer of kids, by getting paid to write stories and do coverage of such atrocities? About sick of the double standard from the all too often, socialist liberal sports writer hacks trying to always mess with tradition in every facet of our lives…just go away and leave us alone. We’re grown up enough and armed with enough information from other sources to make our decisions about ourselves and our kids and the sports we, and they get involved with. Where’s your track and field essays, or coverage, or kayak racing, or sailing or ultramarathons? Fraud..the old “it if bleeds it leads” routine with your bunch. God why didnt your ilk get into social work or write of political science topics. The sky is falling, the sky is falling…how did the bronco nagurski generations before us all ever survive their hits to the heads? Our kids arent taking steroids, being alcoholics, stuffed with pain pills and opiates while getting hit to the head—some might be, who are cheating, but thats the huge difference between amateurs and the pro’s, the pro’s of today have been filling up on narcotics and booze and mixing it in with hits to the head making for guaranteed deadly combinations…Jim McMahon was a confirmed drunk during College and into and long after his pro football career–mix that with hits to the head and now you’ve got the difference.

    The alternative? Just stop the sport…ok, you stop writing about it first.

    1. Concussion damage is a “Current Event”! To Jeff’s credit he wrote “Sweetness”, especially about Walter Payton’s troubles after football but did not even refer or hint at possible concussion damage.

      Wow, Are you angry at Writers, Football, Football Writers or do you just dislike Jeff?

      1. Stargazeman might be angry but he has a point. As an example, Peter King of SI continually writes about the NFL’s lack of accountability on this issue , the dangers associated with football etc, yet he also continues to make a living writing about it. He is not alone in this. It wouldn’t surprise me that after King retires that he will become a very outspoken critic of the game and it’s supporters. Kind of like Howard Cosell and boxing. Boxing was great when Cosell was at the center of it but very critical of the sport after he left.
        Awhile back Jeff advocated that anyone selling cigarettes just stop and go find something else to do. Stargaze is saying the same thing. If you are so much against the sport because of the potential dangers then you can’t make a living off of it.
        I don’t know that Jeff writes about football so I am not sure how much this applies but it does to a lot of sportswriters.
        By the way ten years ago I steered my son away from football into basketball and I have mostly stopped watching the NFL for this very reason.

      2. Most of these guys work FOR some company. SI. Can they just pick up and leave an industry that is shrinking not hiring more at decent wages. Could you walk from your job and not jeopardize the welfare of your family? Could you find the perfect company making perfect products? Will medicine or innovative equipment help the problem. Who holds the NFL accountable if it is not the writers that know it best?

      3. Jeff advocated that anyone selling cigarettes go find something else to do. What is the difference with what I am saying ?
        I don’t blame sportswriters for covering the sport and making a living. I still follow the sport. Just accept that you a part of the game and the games problems and don’t come off as holier than thou.

    2. “…socialist, liberal sports writer hacks…”. “…your “ilk”…”. “…your bunch…”. “Just go away and leave us alone.”

      I was going to make a comment, but changed my mind.

      As for the Bronco Nagurski generations surviving hits to their heads, a lot of them didn’t.

    3. Bronco Nagarskis played with softer helmets, weren’t 280-300+ lbs, didn’t run a 4.5, etc. They were as tough as nails, but it was a different game.

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