Boston Globe sports columnist Bob Ryan suggested that the mothers of America could shut down the NFL if they banded together and say “no way” their kids are going to play football.
Though the NFL has been trying to appeal more to females, Ryan suggests Goodell may not have realized from the outset the importance of appealing to mothers, who will determine whether the next generation of football players will be in the NFL pipeline:
The mothers of America could shut down football today.
I’m not saying they’re going to, but they could. The mothers of America could band together and say, “Uh-uh, no way. My boy’s not playing football. And that’s all there is to it.”
We are in an era of concussion consciousness, concussion awareness, concussion this and concussion that. It is being drilled into us that there is a grave risk involved in blows to the head, consequences that may not manifest themselves until many years in the future.
Ryan notes that mothers may be more leery of allowing their sons to play football given the intense focus on concussions:
Those who choose to play football can no longer say they weren’t warned. They can no longer refer to being “dinged” from a blow to the head. A “ding” is now understood to be a concussion, however minor. And once someone has been so concussed, one is now increasingly susceptible to further concussions.
Many a former player who can admit to being “dinged” more times than he can count now needs to write things down so he won’t forget them, things like directions to the post office or pharmacy or favorite local bar. Many of these former players are in their 40s.
He also notes that football is “a brutal, almost barbaric game” and the “result is carnage. Everyone gets hurt, sooner or later. Ninety percent or more of the dialogue focuses on the most severe injuries, those occurring to the knee, shoulder, and, now more than ever, the head. There is a constant threat of both extreme physical and neurological damage.”
Goodell and his wife–former Fox News anchor Jane Skinner–recently held an event and clinic in Chicago for mothers on football safety.