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Entry date: 1-4-2023 - Thoughts on the NFL injury...and a strange film - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

I flipped over to watch the Bills and Bengals play on Monday night after finishing up the very strange early 70s film, Cinderella Liberty, with James Caan and Marsha Mason. I had recorded it just after Caan died over the summer and thought it looked interesting.

It was interesting. I especially enjoyed the huge difference in this character and Caan's "Sonny Corleone" character which was filmed in the space of the same couple of years. It had to be a nice break for him, in a way, to play such a different kind of guy. I'm sure it was fun to get to hang with Marsha Mason and Burt Young, too, and the young fella who played Mason's son, "Doug" in the movie was pretty great, too.

If you haven't seen the movie, it is not exactly a comedy and not exactly a drama. It has some moments that are very funny and some that are absolutely tragic. It's the early 70s and people were just getting started with dealing with really tough issues in that gritty, 70s movie sort of way.

I wasn't quite sure how to take the movie, so I figured I would let my mind continue down the relaxation road by watching some good football. I really enjoy watching the Buffalo Bills play. They are a very good team and they play an exciting brand of football. The Cincinnati Bengals are also fun to watch and while I don't really root for either team, I do like them both and figured it would be a good game.

As I switched over, I got in about 10 minutes after young Mr. Hamlin (Damar is his given first name) went down. I got sucked in, like any good American, to watching tragedy unfold and got caught up in the heavy handed way the announcers were handling it on ESPN. At first, I had no context for what had happened as they didn't show any replays of the incident.

This was a way for the network, I suppose, to show remarkable restraint, but the footage was all over Twitter which I was soon looking at to find out what happened. I expected to see some graphic bone break or something, but what I saw was just as scary. The poor kid just keeled over. It did seem like he took a hit to the chest, but it didn't seem any harder than 30 or 40 hits from any given football game.

As of this writing, they have not released much information other than that he did receive CPR on the field and it was cardiac arrest. I have been saying for a long time now that we were going to see an on-field death in an NFL game some time soon and I think the sport got as close as they want to get last night.

In fact, on Sunday afternoon we saw a pretty big hit in a game we were watching at the cabin and I made this same prediction while talking to Tom, and I think Mike, about football. Obviously that messed with my head a bit. I don't want to see anyone die on the football field, but it's going to happen.

The way these guys hit each other and how fast they move and how strong they's only a matter of time where something like this happens again and now amount of CPR is going to help. I do not envy the people who have to make the decisions about what will happen to the rest of the game (which was suspended, wisely, by the NFL). No matter what they decide, it will be hard for the players on each side to have their heads in the game.

I am hoping Mr. Hamlin can make a full recovery. If he does, it will be interesting to see if he plays football again. I'm also curious what the lasting impact will be on the sport because of this incident. Personally, I don't think anyone involved on the financial side of this actually cares about the lives or the health of the players. There is too much money that will flow and the public wants its pound of flesh each Sunday.

Stole this.

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