Football Players Ruining Bodies For Pleasure of Strangers.—

As Merle Kessler once observed:

“Football players, like prostitutes, are in the business of ruining their bodies for the pleasure of strangers.”

Now come claims that Bill Belichick pressured one of his players to practice against the advice of the trainer, causing permanent brain damage (NY Times):

Former New England Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson said coach Bill Belichick subjected him to hard hits in practice while he was recovering from a concussion — against the advice of the team's top trainer.

Johnson, who helped the Patriots win three Super Bowl titles before retiring two years ago, told The New York Times that a collision with another player during that 2002 practice led to another concussion. And, after sustaining additional concussions over the next three seasons, he now forgets people's names, misses appointments and suffers from depression and an addiction to amphetamines.

''There's something wrong with me,'' the 34-year-old Johnson said in Friday's Times. ''There's something wrong with my brain. And I know when it started.''