“You Knew”

The three Golic brothers are on Mike and Mike. Bob Golic just expressed disapproval of the lawsuit retired players have filed against the league. Why? Because “you knew.” Guys who played professional football knew they were going to to get “knocked around” and when they had concussions, for the most part, they’re the ones who wanted to go back into the game.

Mike Golic has often made a similar argument and it’s a common one.

It’s also meaningless.

If a smoker, circa 1959, knew that smoking would cause a lot of coughing, but didn’t know that smoking caused lung cancer and other severe illnesses (a fact the tobacco companies tried to suppress for decades), what would it mean to say, “you knew the risks?”

Yes, it would have been obvious to anyone that playing football would leave you with lots of aches and pains, long-term knee and other joint problems and so on. But asserting that it should have been “obvious” that playing football potentially significantly increases the risk of degenerative brain disease is another matter entirely. Furthermore, central to the lawsuit is that the NFL stands accused of having concealed mounting evidence about the deeper risks. If it was so “obvious” to everyone, why was the NFL working so hard to keep that information concealed?

“You knew” is, in this case, just a lazy cop out.

 

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