Jim Irsay compares risks of football to taking aspirin and bobsledding
For whatever reason, Jim Irsay decided to speak publicly on Monday about the nature of the risks inherent to the game of football.
And looking at the resulting statements, some people in the league’s office probably wish he hadn’t.
In an interview with Sports Business Journal’s Daniel Kaplan, the Indianapolis Colts owner made some bizarre analogies and statements about brain injuries and their place in the game
One of Irsay’s weird statement: playing football affects everyone differently, not unlike taking aspirin:
"I believe this: that the game has always been risk, you know, and the way certain people are…Look at it. You take an aspirin, I take an aspirin. It might give you extreme side effects of illness and your body…may reject it, where I would be fine. So there is so much we don’t know."
Football is also like bobsledding:
"Look at it: when you get into Olympic bobsledding-I could sit down and name a dozen different sports-it has always been a known factor that you know you are going in there and you are taking a risk."
He doesn’t know what the solution is, but Irsay and his fellow owners not about to let football get soft on his watch:
"Obviously, we are not going to go to a situation where we put players in almost balloon-like equipment, where it becomes a pillow fight, so to speak," Irsay said. "We are trying to look at everything about the safety of the game without changing the game."
Irsay also called it "absurd" to tie suicide or violence exhibited by former athletes to brain injuries sustained on the football field. Also, Irsay seems to believe there are real diseases out there that get swept under the rug in service of publicizing this CTE phantom-an opinion likely referencing his personal bout with prescription painkiller addiction.
"To try to tie football, like I said, to suicides or murders or what have you, I believe that is just so absurd as well and it is harmful to other diseases, harmful to things like…when you get into the use of steroids, when you get into substance abuse, you get into the illness of alcohol and addiction. It’s a shame that gets missed, because there [are] very deadly diseases there, for instance, like alcoholism and addiction. That gets pushed to the side and [a person] says, ‘Oh, no. Football.’ To me, that’s really absurd."
Lastly, Irsay may or may not have accused some former players of profiteering off the NFL concussion controversy:
"Football is so popular, people know they can sell their story in a newspaper form or a rating on TV, so they use football because what they are more about is the business of, you know, selling newspapers or seeing commercial time on TV. I see it for what it is, man. I stand there and look at it as a grandfather and someone who has been around for 50 years and sure, part of it is frustrating, but everyone has their own self-motivating motive, and that just happens."
So there it is: football is like bobsledding, it affects all of us differently, and the NFL has bigger fish to fry than brain injuries. Oh, and stop trying to make money off the league by running its name in the muck, former players afflicted with haunting mental issues.
Good talk, Jim.
Dan is on Twitter. Football is like Whack-a-Mole: someone of us are bad at it and sometimes the moles you smash are hemispheres of your brain.