Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Hitting Nowhere

Not DJ Swearinger, But Better
This weekend, Dolphins TE Dustin Keller more ore less suffered a career-ending injury when Texans S D.J. Swearinger (and is anyone else having a "Deadwood" flashback when they read that name?) came up in coverage and made a clean, but low hit. The shoulder caught Keller with awful perfection on the knee breaking both ligaments and dislocating the kneecap and the footage is as gruesome as you might imagine. So the story today, remarkable because Keller isn't exactly a star or a QB is whether the hit was dirty.

Um, seriously?

Not to belabor the point too strongly on this, because it really seems kind of obvious... but if the defender is not allowed to hit the defender hit for fear of concussion, and is also going to catch noise for hitting him low... well, um, the real problem with the play is that Keller was hit from behind. (That cad Swearinger!) Clearly, the safety should have waited for Keller to plant his feet, turn and prepare himself for the contact, and perhaps signaled his intentions with a raised flag, glove slap, or sternly written letter.

Tackle football is an indefensible moral atrocity, a weekly car crash with men who are making the devil's bargain of a shortened life span for money, and the players we are watching are the winners of a long-term talent sluice. The only way we get around that is to, well, not think about it very much, or secretly delight in the shortened life span and quality of existence of various players. The players all know this, know that their time is fleeting, know that the facts are their for the laundry much more than they are for the individual. Such is the way of sports and really, in the case of blood sports, and football, as sanitized and as safe as they can make it is a blood sport.

What Swearinger did to Keller wasn't dirty. It also wasn't really avoidable, at least not until the game becomes two-hand touch. (And seriously, can't you see that? Pressure sensitive uniforms with sound activation, but only if you have the ball in your hands. Big thunderous sounds piped into the stadium sound system like it's a pro wrestling event. Voila, no concussions, Chris Berman having orgasms all over the place, and everyone who grew up with the game as is throwing up but watching anyway, because it's the only game in town. I'm already depressed. Moving on.)

It's just sad, and unfortunate, and football. At least for now.

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