One of the NFL’s great stars of the 1990s is gone.
Junior Seau, the punishing linebacker that was the face of the San Diego Chargers for so many years was found dead Wednesday in his home of a self-inflicted gunshot to the chest.
Anytime a 43 year old dies, “tragedy” doesn’t seem like a good enough word.
One word that comes to mind is “unnecessary.”
Over the coming days and weeks, we will learn more about what led to this dark day.
But it will certainly be linked to concussions and the violence of football.
Some people have already compared this to the suicide of former NFL player Dave Duerson, who shot himself in the chest so his brain could be studied.
In a sport focused on inflicting physical pain (Bounty-Gate notwithstanding), the trauma of concussions is frightening.
Need we even discuss how the very real concussions of professional wrestler Chris Benoit demented his brain to the point of killing his entire family, and then himself?
Will we be able to go two weeks without a former athlete committing suicide? Retired football player Ray Easterling killed himself in late April.
Can we, as sports fans, deal with suicide as the byproduct of an NFL Sunday?
The NFL is already considering banning players who have sustained concussions.
But will you be able to separate your enjoyment of the game from the harsh reality that those playing it are not just risking their lives – they are shortening it?