FORT MYERS, FLA. - The original information came with a Tweet from Justin Barney of the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville. It read thusly:
“NFL commish Roger Goodell will be honored next week in Jacksonville with the JSMP Leadership in Sports Health, Safety & Research Award.’’
I had to hold on for dear life not to fall out of the press box at Hammond Stadium when reading this.
Goodell, the great denier of the link between football collisions, concussions and the brain disease CTE, was going to receive an award for his leadership in sports health and safety.
It got even worse when I looked up what the initials JSMP represented: the Jacksonville Sports Medicine Program.
This group decided to honor Goodell based on the financial contributions of the NFL and the Jaguars to a program that hopes to install full-time athletic trainers at the 17 high schools of Duval County through the year 2020. The total cost to fund the program until then is estimated at $1.5 million.
The way it sounds, the Jaguars tossed in $50,000 toward the first year of funding, the NFL matched it, and for this chump change, the Jags and the NFL bought Goodell a plaque that surely will earn a sentence in his next glowing, official biography.
I have to say that Goodell getting an award for leadership in the area of athletes’ safety is the most wonderful absurdity I’ve encountered in the area of health since the following:
My friend Dark Star died of a heart attack on May 31, 2012. It saddens me any time I’m viewing an important sports event back home in Minnesota, and realize I could be doing so in front of the Darkman’s 80-inch TV and listening to his quips … if he still was with us.
There was an estate sale after Dark Star’s death, and while other friends and the public took the valuable stuff, I wound up with a $3 item that I continue to treasure.
It was a framed certificate from the American Lung Association citing the Darkman for his work to promote lung and respiratory health.
Every time I run across this certificate in an upstairs room, I get a chuckle, and you can guess the reason, of course.
Right. Dark Star was a smoker, and a fairly dedicated one.
One difference between my friend and the NFL Commissioner would be this:
The Darkman openly admitted to the irony of getting his award from the lung association. Goodell’s ego is such that he will not see any such quality in getting his award from a group involved in sports health.