Under the Black Flag

The NFL, Clean and Low

The latest brouhaha about professional football players beating up their little wimmen has me shocked, shocked! that such a thing could take place in modern-day America, Home of the Depraved.  But before I go on about why black football multimillionaires don’t get enough violence on the playing field but have to bring it home with them, a word about head trauma.

When I was a kid fresh from Europe in lower school at Lawrenceville in 1949, I was given some pads and a helmet and told to tackle the one carrying the ball.  Tackle low, tackle clean was the order of the day.  The only concussion I ever got after six years of prep school was when I fell backward from a dorm stoop while dead drunk on the last day of my last year.  Mind you, everyone back then tackled low and clean, the head-butt tackle having been made popular much later by players coming into the pros from great places of higher learning like Florida State and Miami U.

I recently watched a documentary on the New York Giants, circa 1956.  The names are now forgotten, but Sam Huff, Andy Robustelli, Arnie Weinmeister, Frank Gifford, Charlie Connerly, and Kyle Rote are Hall of Famers, as are Roosevelt Brown and Rosie Greer, two black players who in the film were as articulate as they were fierce-but-clean on the field.  I suspect both Roosevelts came from two-parent families, as was customary back then.  Which brings me to the...

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