I initial met Kevin Turner for an talk in New York City in 2011. At 42 years old, he walked into a room looking like a somewhat comparison chronicle of a top-shelf athlete that he was as a using behind during a University of Alabama and during his eight-year career in a NFL. He had a shaved head, that thinly sheltered his decrease hairline, and some white in his mustache and stubble, yet other than that looked like someone who could credibly take a margin a subsequent day. Before a talk started, we couldn’t assistance myself. we pronounced to him, “No one would ever demeanour during we and consider that we have been diagnosed with ALS.”
He smiled during me and took his hands out of his pockets and said, “Yeah, yet there’s this.” His fingers were twisted adult into themselves, as if he was double-crossing both digits. He afterwards demonstrated a volume of bid it took for him to collect adult a pencil. Without an unit of self-pity, he pronounced to me, “This is usually a beginning.” It was. Over a subsequent 5 years, ALS attacked Kevin Turner of his corporeal control corner by joint, nonetheless he never mislaid possibly his extreme grace or his courage. In fact, Kevin Turner’s eagerness to be as open as probable about a condition of his physique and take on a NFL is unequivocally one of a some-more bold acts we’ve seen in this sports world. He said to me, “I am unequivocally assured that conduct trauma—concussions—play a partial in ALS symptoms. Maybe we can get to a indicate where we can contend who competence be compliant to ALS if they have a lot of conduct trauma.”
Turner was afterwards lead plaintiff in a lawsuit levied opposite a league, that resulted in a $765 million class-action settlement. Some players believed that this volume was not enough, yet Turner argued that to interest it meant that people in his situation, traffic with crippling medical bills on a unchanging basis, would leave this world before assistance could assistance their families.
Now Kevin Turner is dead, and his flitting unequivocally does make me wish fiercely for an afterlife. Not usually since he was a pleasing person, yet since there are people we should wish to accommodate their builder and explain what a ruin happened to Kevin Turner as a outcome of malignant institutional neglect. There is NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, a arrange of chairman who will do a ice-bucket plea to quarrel ALS, while denying a unequivocally transparent scholarship display that there is a tie between CTE and a crippling disease; a male who when asked about a dangers of football progressing this year smirked and said, “There’s risk in sitting on your couch.”
There is Arizona Cardinals Coach Bruce Arians. The unequivocally day that Kevin Turner died, Arians, who is a media darling for personification a old-school tough guy, echoed his bosses—which is substantially a slightest “tough guy” movement imaginable—and bellowed, “People that say, ‘I won’t let my son play [football]’ are fools. We have this fear of concussion that is real, yet not all of those statistics, we think, can infer anything,”
Then there is Jerry Jones. The implicitly broke Dallas Cowboys owner—who doubles as a league’s many consistently awful and unfireable ubiquitous manager—opined this week about the attribute between ongoing dire encephalopathy and football, saying, “No, that’s absurd.”
They make these denials even yet in 2014 a joining sensitively concluded to facilitate, as Ken Belson in The New York Times described, “an open-ended joining to compensate money awards to late players who have insanity and other conditions related to steady conduct hits, according to papers filed in a United States District Court for a Eastern District of Pennsylvania.” They make these denials even yet a NFL finally certified to Congress progressing this month that links exist between their competition and CTE.
Most pointedly, they make these denials a unequivocally week that the Times, in a harmful report, showed how a NFL has baked a concussion books. The Times demonstrated that “more than 100 diagnosed concussions” were wanting from NFL studies from 1996–2001. These doctored studies were used by a NFL to disagree in countless medical journals and underneath promise to Congress that there was no tie between their competition and long-term mind injuries like a ALS that killed Kevin Turner. If this kind of doctored scholarship and made loosening bears a clever relate to a tobacco industry, that is no accident. Despite NFL lawyers’ revelation a Times that Big Tobacco is “perhaps a many unpleasant attention in American history,” it hasn’t stopped them from pity “lobbyists, lawyers and consultants.” The Times also showed personal correspondence, cooking invitations, and a “request for lobbying advice” between Big Tobacco and Big Football.
The Times reporting, that has a NFL scurrying to buy a full-page ad in a paper to emanate a rebuttal, shows that this is not usually a “league of denial” yet a joining built on lies and damaged lives.
Kevin Turner and we stayed in contact, remaining friends. The Kevin Turner we knew was peaceful to spend his last years lifting recognition about a connectors and quarrel back. He started The Kevin Turner Foundation to yield “education, support, and medical resources” for families traffic with a ALS that comes from high-concussion sports.
“Jesus says that in this universe there will be trials and tribulations, yet be of good cheer, for there is something after this,” he pronounced to me. “I wanted to make something splendid out of something that wasn’t so splendid and maybe assistance somebody else along a way. we unequivocally consider that that’s what I’m here to do now.”
He did help, not that a NFL wants we to know about his work. When Kevin Turner passed, there was no matter from a league. There was not even an strange essay on a website, NFL.com. Instead, it usually posted a reprinted news from a Associated Press. Instead, we had to hear Jerry Jones, Bruce Arians, and, by his silence, Roger Goodell effectively sneer during Kevin Turner’s work and a final years of his life. Perhaps Goodell is being still since he is operative on his acceptance debate for an respect he is being given by a Jacksonville Sports Medicine Program called a Leadership in Sports Health, Safety Research Award. This is not a joke. To see Roger Goodell so respected point with Kevin Turner’s genocide is to bear declare to a sports chronicle of saying Henry Kissinger win a Nobel Peace Prize. It also confirms, as if we indispensable some-more evidence, that we competence adore examination a NFL, but—as Michael Jackson put it—they don’t caring about us.