Ken Stabler, CTE

“Ken Stabler, Football Great, Had C.T.E.”:

Why are we so concerned about kids in Flint, but give NFL players a pass, why are we up in arms about Michigan’s governor, but cry hosannas when a billionaire moves his football team to Los Angeles and Roger Goodell escapes unscathed?

It’s time for Coldplay to pull out of the Super Bowl.

Forget black actors at the Oscars, this is a much bigger deal. When are artists going to say they’re not going to participate in this barbaric enterprise where people are maimed for life?

Flint was about the money.

The NFL is about the money.

And playing the Super Bowl is about the money too. It not only raises your visibility/profile, it helps you sell tickets.

Is that the country we’ve evolved to be, one wherein money is everything? Isn’t that why Bernie Sanders has made so much headway, because he’s saying NO MAS to a land where the dollar trumps everything?

Football will be marginalized in your lifetime. They may still play it, but it won’t grab ratings and will be the equivalent of boxing. How many boys and men will be harmed in the interim? How can we all just sit by as these behemoths brutalize each other?

Life used to be different. Sure, they played with fewer pads, the game was pretty violent, but artists stood outside the sporting world. They questioned authority, they stood up for what was right. Artists were the antidote. They had power beyond elected officials and billionaires. They stood up for what they believed in as opposed to what was expedient.

But that was when there was a middle class, and a successful artist was as rich as anybody in America. Before those who were educated left for business instead of going into the arts, before the artists woke up and wondered who’d moved their cheese and started bitching that they just could not get rich enough. Not anymore anyway. Not like the tech stars.

But the tech stars got so rich by pushing boundaries, by doing it their way, not worrying about what the establishment had to say.

And now artists keep playing to the establishment.

It makes your head spin.

The artists want corporate endorsements, not knowing they come with a price. You take the money and you’re a tool of the man. Is everybody a tool of the man today?

What we know is change happens fast. iPhones replace BlackBerrys. Flip phones are in the rearview mirror. Your handheld device is for texting, not talking. The Kochs and their money are the story of political campaigning and then Bernie Sanders raises millions from individuals. Because individuals have power. And their minds can be changed very quickly.

Do you feel guilty when you watch football?

I do.

And that’s an unpopular thing to say. Because the throng is always married to the past, to the status quo. Those on the bleeding edge are excoriated. Whether it be Shawn Fanning or Daniel Ek.

But the bleeding edge is where all the money is, and the public is the early adopter, not those inured to the old ways.

Vinyl might be an interesting curio but it will never be the primary listening medium. Physical is dead. On demand is everything. And if you don’t think being paid forever via on demand streaming is a good thing, you don’t know any broke, aged musicians.

Artistry used to be about humanity.

Who’s the reporter who’s gonna put the mic in front of Chris Martin and ask him his opinion about football. His ex-wife has no problem being herself, can’t he?


Because it’s all about the money until it isn’t.

The networks like the ratings, you like something to root for, advertisers like the exposure, is that reason enough to continue to support the game?



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