We can start by having this conversation about the emotional health of players, and having it frequently enough that the N.F.L. has to start listening, just as it did in 2011 when frenzied media coverage of head injuries forced the league to adopt safer concussion protocols. The N.F.L. can provide its players with more and better mental health resources, and it’s time fans start demanding that it do so.
There are those who would solve the problem by abolishing football altogether. But that would only further ignore the needs of the millions of football players, from youth leaguers to professionals, who rely on the game as a source of healthy emotional fulfillment.
The hope of every football fan is that by mitigating the emotional toll endured by some players, we can not only reduce violent aftershocks — our primary goal — but also save the N.F.L. from slipping further into a downward spiral. Otherwise we might lose football altogether, and with it our weekly chance to put up our feet and forget, for a few exhilarating hours, our own pain and hardship.
One man’s perspective (although he forgot about the millions of gamblers and fantasy league participants who would, in their likely opinion, be devastated but the end of the NFL).
For fair reporting, I offer a rebuttal here from an admitted insider: