penalty shouts: Gronk, CTE, and the NFL

This is Penalty Shouts, The Tartan’s sports column inspired by the The New Yorker’s column Daily Shouts. This satire-fueled column will focus on anything and everything funny in the sports world that is deserving of our comedic attention.

Ahh Gronk. The man famous for deflating the deflategate conflict with a "deez nutz" joke, which I think should be indicative of his level of superior intelligence. If you looked up the term "stereotypical frat bro" in the dictionary, you would find a giant picture of his face right next to it.

But the man is now retiring to save his remaining six brain cells before the NFL consumes whatever is left of his brain.

For reference, it’s been found recently that the number of NFL players with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) could be much higher than anticipated. It’s a neurodegenerative disease that is characterized with memory loss, dementia, and other brain problems. A study showed that out of 111 brains that NFL players donated, 110 of them had CTE.

Of course the NFL probably doesn’t care about CTE. They barely put effort into their halftime shows. Why would they care about their players despite them being the bread and butter of their entire business model? Aren’t football players just clumps of cells meant to be exploited for financial gain? What even is a brain for the NFL? It’s not like any of the NFL executives have one, so of course they would assume the players they exploit don’t have one either.

The NFL has been mired with these scandals and lawsuits for years, so for them, they’ll look at the eventual CTE lawsuits and just say “bring it on”. It’s horrible, but I see no other reason for the NFL to suddenly change their stance. They hid the negative effects of all the concussions from the public and then didn’t even pay the families of ex-players affected by this their proper settlements after years of court cases. Like who does that? That would be like divorcing your significant other, leaving them with the kids, and then sending a postcard saying “i luv u” instead of paying child support. It’s frustrating to watch the business equivalent of Dolores Umbridge get away with all this.

So you know what Gronk? You’re my hero. You’re 29 and you could have done what Brady did and played until your ego was satisfied, but you stopped at your prime. May you be blessed with a life without significant long term injury. If you do have it, you can expect the NFL to do absolutely nothing about it.