Anthony Adams' son won't play football

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by riczaj01, Aug 22, 2013.

  1. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/ct-met-kass-0822-20130822,0,7979273,full.column

    Ex-Bear wants different path for only son

    Anthony Adams' son won't play football
    August 22, 2013
    Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass and reporter Jen Weigel talk about the dangers of football and what it means for the future of the game.
    John Kass

    August 22, 2013
    Former Chicago Bear Anthony "Spice" Adams played nine seasons in the National Football League as a defensive tackle. He loves football — both playing it and talking about it.
    He's a big man with a big personality that should launch him on his next career: His new TV show, "Inside the Bears," debuts Sept. 14 on WFLD-Ch. 32.
    "It's geared around fun and entertainment. We may not talk about a lick of football at all," he said at lunch at Michael Jordan's Steakhouse.
    Adams ordered a salad. I told him he should try that crazy bacon. He did.

    "We can come here and talk bacon, which would be right up my alley," said Adams. "I'll talk to some of the defensive linemen, the offensive linemen, we can just talk about honey buns and PayDays and Snickers."
    But we weren't there to talk bacon or honey buns. We were there to talk with Adams and his wife, Andenika, a licensed pharmacist, about their 5-year-old son, Anthony Adams III.
    Any NFL player is a superb athlete. And Andenika was a swimmer. So the couple could likely produce a good football player.
    Except that their son won't be playing. Adams wouldn't mind if his son became a golfer. His wife hopes he becomes a scientist. But football? No way.
    "I'm public — I don't want my son to play," Adams told me. "I know how it feels after you're done. I know how it feels while you're playing it, and I just felt that if he played baseball or golf, he could play for a lot longer. Especially golf. There are 70-year-olds playing golf.
    "You don't have to have a (particular) body type to play golf," he said. "You can be comfortable with how you look and make millions of dollars and get all kind of perks."
    He didn't have to say another key difference — that golf won't scramble your brains.
    Adams says that if his son grows up and is desperate to play football, he won't stop him. But you can see the father in his eyes when he says it.
    On the walls there were flat-screen TVs turned to sports and the news was about De'Antre Turman, the college-bound 16-year-old star defensive back from Creekside High School in Georgia.
    Turman was tackling a receiver late last week when, as a coach described it, "his body just went limp." The tackle broke Turman's neck, and he died.
    "I don't want him to play football at all," Andenika said of her son. "I just don't want my son to play football. Just because of the injuries … the concussions and all of the problems that some of the players have. I just don't want … I'll support him, but I really don't want him to play.
    "I have life plans for him," she told me. "You know how moms are."
    What plans?
    "I want him to be a marine biologist. He can work at the Shedd (Aquarium). Or he can work for (Disney's) Animal Kingdom. Or he can go work for Atlantis (water park) and train dolphins. That's my life for him. With that, I've planned his life out for him. That's it."
    And if he plays sports?
    "This is going to be purely for fun," she said. "And we're going to rely on academics and that's going to be your first career."
    The way she said it, quiet, without drama, I believed her. I could see the mom in her, and the pharmacist in her, too, the wife who watched her husband go through pain to play.
    They're like an increasing number of parents making the same decision. They're parents keeping their sons from football. And more than most, they know the true cost of the game.
    The sad thing is that it is a great game. It teaches young men about courage and sacrifice and teamwork. Lessons learned on sun-baked practice fields can carry a man through life. I wasn't much of a player, but the lessons certainly carried me through rough times. And all sports carry risk. I'll never forget watching a boy get his leg snapped in two, bone protruding, on a soccer field. To live is to risk. And without risk, we're nothing.
    But American football is different from many other sports. It has a terrible design flaw. It is designed to destroy the human body.
    The only way to reduce the high-impact hits would be to allow no substitutions. Two-way players get tired more quickly, and they don't hit as hard. But TV networks don't want slow. They want fast and explosive. And they twin that violence with sex.
    When a pro player's body crumples on the field, in the background of almost every camera shot you'll see this: a voluptuous cheerleader prancing, the young woman's thigh on display between her white boot and short skirt. When billions of dollars are involved, the images are never accidental.
    As the player is carted off, TV cuts to a commercial and the fans drink their beer, wondering if the team they bet on will cover the spread.
    Anthony Adams was great at football until his body gave out, and football made him lots of money. He's a rough, tough man and he was very good at his job.
    Yet he's also a dad who knows the game better than all the apologists. He loves football for what it is. But he doesn't want his son to know it the way he did.
    jskass@tribune.com
    Twitter @John_Kass

    Copyright © 2013 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC
  2. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    It's a pretty well timed article. Everyone wants to bitch about how the league is b/c the NPL(you know) but the reality is what makes the game great, is also it's biggest problem. And even players know it. It's why you so rarely see "legacy" players, who's dad played and who's grandfathers played and who's sons will eventually play.

    And more and more as I talk to other parents they are like Spice and will either not let, or strongly discourage their kids from playing....You can bitch all you want and kick and scream about how the game is violent and should remain so, but between Lawyers and potential litigation, at all levels of the game not just the NFL, it's going to change. It has to or it will just be boxing, a fringe sport no one cares about anymore. People used to say the same about Hockey, that fights were part of it, but the NHL has tried to limit it, and it's growing again and at a solid pace.
  3. 4dabers

    4dabers Veteran DBS Writer

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    I don't let my son play either. We let him play JFL when he was younger (now almost 17), but we thought better of it as it went on. It helped that it wasn't his favorite sport, and football is the kind of game you really have to have a passion for or it will be a chore and no fun. It was MY passion, but it's not his, and I'm happy about that. So, much like AA described, the lil guy getting the autograph at the left now goes to golf practice while his buddies go to football practice. That's fine with me cause he's got a sick curve ball and an improving slider, so Golf and Baseball can keep him busy.

    I'm not gonna lie, Friday nights would be more fun if he did (and I used to imagine that when he was younger), but it's a small price to pay.
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  4. butka

    butka Rookie

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    I'm in the same boat. After all of the crap I've seen me and my buddies deal with after playing in college, I'm going to be pushing my son towards baseball or something less physically damaging. I'd consider letting him play football only if he were going to play QB.
  5. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    Ya my son started talking last year about wanting to play, and he doesn't even like to watch it...he just had friends at school and in the neighborhood that are getting into it. I warned him about it, but told him if you really want to you have to sit down and watch a game so you understand what's going to happen. He was okay w/that. Then over the summer he played w/his cousins and didn't like it, so I don't even have to worry about it now, and I'm happy.

    I'm right w/you 4da, baseball golf, hell I have him in Tae Kwon Do right now, and he loves it. He wants to look into archery also, so I'm getting info on that. I'm more interested in him getting outside and playing w/other kids and getting him unhooked from TV and games...so anything is cool w/me...but football, i'm really happy that's not in his cards.
  6. jbunch14

    jbunch14 Veteran

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    I love football. I played all the way through college. I love to watch it, talk about it, read about it, and even freaking type about it. I also feel the same way, and likely won't encourage my boys to play football. Basketball, baseball, something else. The risks are just too high, and I have been a risk taker all my life.
  7. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    At some point the equipment will catch up w/the game and it might change. I know they have bmx motocross helmets that are supposed to help small collisions from smattering the brain. If the NFL is really interested in keeping the brain safe, you can bet there is a group that can help develop a safer helmet....at least on the multiple low impact every play hits that many DR's claim could be worse then the major dingers.
  8. The Benjamin

    The Benjamin George Halas Staff Member

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    If my sons are ever physically gifted, I am not sure I would push them towards a football career either
  9. Warlock

    Warlock Rookie

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    The only realistic way to prevent the damage to the brain that football players tend to suffer, is to lessen the abrupt changes in velocity that cause the brain to move around in cerebral fluid (which is what causes the tramua, when the brain slams into the skull). I can't see us developing a helmet that can dissipate the kinetic energy levels that we see generated in these high-speed collisions any time soon, so until we can master a feasible way of doing so, the most realistic method to address the problem is by making changes to how players are allowed to collide with one another. At least without changing the speed of the game drastically, i.e. requiring players to wear highly restrictive protective gear that has such dissipative capabilities. I can't see any Scientific break thrus in our lifetime that will allow us to manipulate the laws of Physics anyways (like portable force fields and/or stabilization fields with the ability to absorb huge amounts of kinetic energy).
  10. short faced bear

    short faced bear Assistant Head Coach DBS Writer

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    I'll take my kid playing football over boxing/MMA and ending up talking like Larry Holmes any day and twice on Sunday.
  11. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Coordinator SuperFan DBS Writer

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    I don't know. My son played football. In my family, in this mid-west town, most everyone plays football. My family members have played on local teams since the 1920's. At any given time, we usually have a couple of guys in the NFL from one of the five local high schools (we currently have two at the moment in the NFL from my son's tiny high school of 400 kids), and countless kids from here have played on major college programs.

    Football here is THE sport.

    None of the kids around here are any worse for having played. They've learned a lot about sacrifice and teamwork in the process & built friendships that last a lifetime (not too long ago, I had an old 80+ year old guy, who was an ex-OL center, telling me about how he played with my great-uncle on a great 1920's team). My boss tells me stories about her uncle's days with the KC Chiefs. I guess we're like Ditka's "Grabowski's" here. Yes, everyone pretty much gets injured, including my son (one night he was in a wheelchair at the local hospital after a game). But he healed up and was fine. He's always been a smart kid academically (he's a National Merit Scholar studying this fall at one of the top universities in the world, in Europe) so it's not like he's an idiot from football. I will always believe that football gave him a lot of self-esteem and character - and he learned discipline and working as a team with others to reach a common goal (they were Illinois State Champions and he will remember that year forever).

    On the one hand, I do see the brutality of the game. Certainly a lot of kids just like play shooter video games alone in their bedrooms - and certainly they stay safe there. I'm not sure that's good either.

    Hopefully they can adjust the rules, and equipment so that it's not quite as dangerous as it is. But hey, you can get hurt just riding in a car - and killed for that matter. So who knows....
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2013
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  12. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    I know what you're saying Warlock, but the reality is they have them for racing and they have them for BMX motocross, and the levels of impact and g forces involved are far greater in those then in football. w/the BILLIONS the NFL has, if they REALLY wanted to they could find something.

    SFB, not really proving anything there, who's said hey I won't put my kid into football, but MMA/Boxing hells yes!
  13. ChiCityBears

    ChiCityBears Veteran

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    I was downtown recently, and I believe I saw AA. I just looked at a pic of him. Looks like it was him.
  14. short faced bear

    short faced bear Assistant Head Coach DBS Writer

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    Don't think I was trying to PROVE anything to you buddy. In reality there are far worse choices than football. My ex wife would freak if our kid decided to get into NASCAR. Although the danger is lessened to a huge degree ultimately when it happens it is grizzly. Me, I would just freak out b/c it's a redneck sport lolol.
  15. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    SFB, but just b/c there are worse doesn't mean their aren't plenty that are better. Golf, Baseball are both sports that you can have careers w/out making it to the big leagues and are both far more safe, Basketball is a world wide giving someone the ability to play even if you don't make the NBA and again is far more safe. Women's soccer is equally risky for head inj's, but mens soccer is well below and again world sport where you don't have to be in the big leagues to have a career.
    Or hell, even if you are just looking for a sport to teach your kids something any of those sports are safer w/out the potential for long term brain issues.

    Football you have 1 real route to play as a pro and make a good living compared to the health risk, and that's the NFl, and it's a shorter lifespan then those other ones. Listen my son's expected to be 6'7" 265 or so lb's will have very long arms and if he wanted/needed to he would easily be able to add 50 healthy lbs more and still be okay, and everyone when he was a baby and a toddler would talk about how he could play football, even the dr's. He's 8, and in the last 5 years the information that has come out has completely changed my mind on the idea of ever wanting him to see the field. And I wouldn't want him in NASCAR, boxing, or MMA either just b/c some are worse doesn't make football safe.
  16. short faced bear

    short faced bear Assistant Head Coach DBS Writer

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    Sure there are plenty that are better. Football is what it is and there is a risk. I don't expect my kid to ever play as a pro or even college and will probably not play that much so the risk is very mitigated. I worry a lot more about him going to war or a regular hourly paying hazardous career.

    Of all the things I worry about, football is way down on that list.
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  17. butka

    butka Rookie

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    Yeah, but the game is a lot different now than when the 80 year old played. It's a much bigger, faster, and stronger game. I'm 10 years removed from playing in college and I have a few buddies who played their whole lives that are struggling to get out of bed in the morning at age 31 and 32. For years after I finished, I would randomly see black spots in my field of vision. That has just recently gone away for the most part. However, most of the effects aren't immediate and the brain damage (CTE) doesn't normally affects ones intelligence or aptitude, it affects their mood and behavior. I work in a field that is highly regarded for it's intellectual endeavors and is full of bright people, but that doesn't mean I don't worry about what I might be 20 years from now. It's not my wit or astuteness that I'm afraid will disappear. It's mood swings, anxiety, and depression that I fear. Look at Duerson, Seau, all of those guys. They weren't bumbling morons, their personalities changed. They hurt those around them and it was completely out of character.

    This isn't about love of the game. We all love the game. I lived and breathed it for years. I'm surrounded by friends who coach, scout, and work in all levels of football, from high school to the NFL. My best friends are all guys I played with and I certainly cherish those relationships. Anthony Adams and all of these other players (Adrian Peterson, Bart Scott, Kurt Warner, Terry Bradshaw, I could go on and on) who say the same thing about their children were in the game far deeper than you or I. I agree about the character building of football, I've never participated in a sport than even remotely matched the discipline and team work learned from the game (I certainly didn't play every sport known to man though). However, seeing what it's done physically to a lot of people around me, I think I'll find an alternative for my son unless something drastic changes. Of course participating in a sport is better than riding a couch and playing video games all day, but the world isn't football or video games, and nothing else. There's other sports and endeavors in life to learn these lessons from. I'm not telling you what to do or think, that's up to you. I'm telling you though, first hand that this is real and it's scary. The reasons behind your skepticism and use of anectdotal stories don't really prove against the possible effects of playing. I don't know you, but from afar, you seem like a reasonable guy from your posts on the board, and you also seem to be in denial because of the culture of your small town.
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  18. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Coordinator SuperFan DBS Writer

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    All good points, and I agree with most of what you said. Also, I can certainly understand, and respect any parents decision to not let their son play football. A case can be made either way, as to whether or not to let a son play.

    The sport needs to be safer than it is. My only point is that "life" is not always perfectly safe, and if people want to play the sport of football, then I'm fine with that. I read the news each morning about all of the horrific stuff going on in the world around us. In the grand scheme of things, there's worse stuff going on than my son choosing to play football.

    And a lot of people (me too) are concerned about making the sport safer, and I believe we're beginning to see some progress that can be built upon as we move forward. It is a huge concern at all levels from Pop Warner leagues to the NFL.

    FWIW, my kids enjoy other sports too, from tennis, golf, and basketball to soccer. But I let my son play football too. You're right that it's been part of the fabric of thousands of towns across America for close to 100 years. Football is a part of America and our culture and history. It can be a violent sport for sure, but instead of bailing on the sport, let's see if there are ways to reduce the risk of injury. I'm confident there will be a number of ways to do this. I'm not expecting a magic bullet to make it a Madden-game experience, but perhaps a number of helpful rules and equipment ideas, implemented over time, can help preserve the sport and make it as safe as any other sport.

    That's just my 2-cents worth :)
  19. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    JABF, I think the main thing is that the kid needs to love the sport, and has to have a penchent for wanting to hit or be hit. And for that the parents need to know their kids. A kid unafraid of hitting or being hit back is probably safer then a kid scared of them, and even if they don't mind it, if they don't love the sport they probably are not going to be as safe.
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  20. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Coordinator SuperFan DBS Writer

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    I completely agree. And I also understand why a parent wouldn't want their son to play football. I respect them either way.

    This has been a GREAT thread because it helps focus on WHY the game we love needs to be made safer. We all (me too) love to see the "Big Hit" on a player. Many of us come unglued when a Bears player gets fined for a questionable hit. You read countless posts about how it's getting to be like flag football in the NFL now, and we condemn Roger Goodell for handing out big fines.

    But this thread gives us all some "food for thought" about the consequences of letting the game ruin lives. It certainly makes me re-think some things. Good thread Ric. Thanks for posting it.

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