Morning Message: Mike Silver Takes the Long View on the Bounty Situation

Mike Silver, a Yahoo! Sports Expert, posted this lengthy column yesterday evening, pontificating on the larger implications of the bounty situation on the issue of head trauma and the future of the game of football, with the most recent developments as a flashpoint, while touting Sean Pamphilon's important role in the matter.

As a columnist not inclined to turn his back on juicy material, I'm not complaining. Yet as one of the many human beings who makes his living off this multi-billion dollar industry - and as someone who loves the game of football and wants it to survive and thrive - I'm sincerely hoping we can move past the drama and start focusing on what's really important.

A culture change is upon us, and it's time we all get with the program. This isn't a Saints thing; it's a football thing.

Here's the head trauma angle I mentioned earlier...

The more we learn about the effects of concussions, the scarier the future seems. Pro football may be America's most popular spectator sport, and business may be booming, but its continued proliferation and sustenance is not a given.

If we don't put our heads together and make a sincere and relentless effort to address this crisis, the next generation of Drew Breeses, Terrell Suggses and Tom Bradys may be tearing it up in other sports.

Silver also introduces an idea that may not be received too well by some folks around here:

This is where Pamphilon's role, as messy and polarizing as it might be, assumes so much importance. Whereas we can legitimately question the agendas of everyone else involved, writing off Pamphilon's actions as the attention-seeking duplicity of a man who betrayed his dying buddy (former Saints special teams hero Steve Gleason, who suffers from ALS) is counterproductive and dismissive of the big picture.

He traces the story from his personal and professional connection to Pamphilon believing that Sean is working for a greater good, to their contact with former Saint Kyle Turley, and then to Steve Gleason.

Then he delves into the motivations and reactions to the release of the Gregg Williams audio that Pamphilon's most recent essay explored:

Personally, I wish he hadn't scorched the earth with his essay, but at least he's focused on the enormity of the problem, and on the truth. Gleason is fighting the brave fight (he and Fujita spoke at the United Nations' Social Innovations Summit on Thursday), and I can't even imagine the pain and fear that he and his loved ones are experiencing on a constant basis. That said, I think his (and his advisors') reaction to the release of the Williams audio was the wrong one, and it helped inspire many cynical citizens to do the same.

Next, Silver mentions what he has done,

My job requires me to spend a lot of time discussing and digesting these intricacies, and over the last couple of days I've had numerous conversations with people involved in this made-for-reality-TV scandal.

...and what he wants to do.

It's also true that my job requires me to look forward and to try to offer suggestions about how to make the future a brighter one, and that, rather than rehash the zesty layers of the bounty scandal, is where I'd like to focus my energies in the months and years ahead.

Can football be made safer and, if so, precisely how? I don't know the answers to these questions, but I'd like to help come up with them, and I know a lot of smart, impassioned people involved with the game who'd be down with the cause.

What improvements can be made in terms of diagnosis, treatment and prevention? Can we determine whether a prospective football player is more predisposed to suffering brain-related injuries than the average athlete? Is it possible to, say, find a means of discovering whether if someone is on the road to contracting CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) while he/she is still alive? Are there drugs that can stall or reverse the effects of brain degradation?

I definitely don't know the answers to these questions, but there are some incredibly intelligent doctors and scientists that the NFL and NFLPA should be jointly enlisting toward these pursuits - and that should have happened yesterday.

His closing may be a little over the top, however.

Together, we can fix this, or at least try our damndest. We have to try. For when you push past all the drama and get a real glimpse at the fortune and pain, it's simply heartbreaking.

* * *

So, does this column help move things forward, or is it just some self-aggrandizing flatulence...or something in between?

One thing's for sure...a lot of people are creating a lot of column inches out of it.

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