This column is going on hiatus.
There are a number of reasons why.
For starters, I just took a job that demands my attention seven days a week. I edit the blog www.allleftturns.com. I love the work. Much of what I am getting paid to do will help The Joe Donatelli Column 2.0, launch date TBD. Ironically, I got the job, in part, because of the voice I developed writing this column. It was a victim of its own success.
On top of the time issue, I have not been happy with the quality of the column for the last few months. I think this had something to do with how the column was tied to the podcast each week. I felt restricted. The quality suffered some weeks. I am going to take this opportunity to rethink the Web site and return with something better. I will re-launch. I just don’t know when or what it will look like. In the meantime, I plan to post links and thoughts and funny items to this site daily, and will pen the occasional column when something crazy happens, like if I almost choke to death on salad dressing and my roommate saves me again, which could happen.
The Second Column podcast will continue, though in a different iteration, as there is no longer a column to which to link the podcast. Mike, Sean, Carlos and I are batting some ideas around. The show really hasn’t been about the column for awhile, so the quality should endure. (If you are a fan of the column, and have not done so already, subscribe to the podcast. It is fantastic.)
There is no podcast this week, but that has nothing to do with this announcement. Our producer was out of town and we were not able to schedule a show between the time he got back and this Sunday, when we usually unleash an hour-plus of insanity upon our poor iTunes subscribers. We plan to post one next week.
I appreciate all of the support you have shown me through a combined 180 columns (counting the Scripps Howard years). Your e-mails and letters and kind words in person fueled this endeavor. I write for free. Your support was the only fee I desired. In that sense, I am very rich. If only I could buy groceries with your support. (Why isn’t Obama all over this? Seems like the kind of thing he’d champion – a thumbs-up based economy.)
Thank you so much.
I’ll be back.
The NFL is not allowing a gun seller to air its ad during the Super Bowl.
The ban supposedly runs afoul of the NFL’s rules, which state, “Firearms, ammunition or other weapons are prohibited; however, stores that sell firearms and ammunitions (e.g., outdoor stores and camping stores) will be permitted, provided they sell other products and the ads do not mention firearms, ammunition or other weapons.”
Daniel Defense has a store, it sells other products, and the ad does not mention weapons, although its logo does contain a rifle.
The commercial, in which a man who is home from active military service takes responsibility for protecting his family, is benign. In fact, it is less violent than what will take place during the actual Super Bowl and in most of the game’s Doritos commercials.
It’s hard to square the NFL’s commercial ban against violent products when the NFL itself is a violent product.
In the last year the sad and tragic health problems and deaths of former NFL players who are suffering from brain trauma have received a lot of attention.
We have learned that:
- Autopsies on more than 50 dead players found the key indicator for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which is a degenerative condition many scientists say is caused by head trauma and linked to depression and dementia
- Ex-players are currently being diagnosed with CTE
- The NFL relies on its own, non-independent studies to determine how much brain trauma its players suffer, and it refuses to link football to brain damage
- Former players who say they suffer from head trauma are committing bizarre forms of suicide
- The NFL paid former players $765 million to make their concussion-related lawsuits go away
There is more. Some of the anecdotes are shocking, and many are heartbreaking, and they have led me to question whether I should continue to watch the NFL. It’s clear that many former NFL players are suffering, and the link between their pain and their days spent in uniform is strong. Many commentators are speculating for the first time about the long-term viability of professional football.
The NFL does not wish to be associated with guns, which is misguided, because safety—clearly something the NFL has yet to take seriously—is the defining characteristic of gun culture. If you’ve taken a firearms training class or been to private or government target range, you know this. In the United States, there are an estimated 270 million firearms. In 2010, there were 8,775 homicides committed with guns. That number is awful and sad. In a perfect world it would be zero. For the sake of argument, let’s say each gun used to kill someone was used once. That means the guns that were used to kill accounted for .003 percent of all guns.
There’s no way of knowing yet what percentage of former NFL players suffer from brain damage, but I’d wager it’s more than .003 percent.
I’m not surprised the image-conscious NFL would ban a Super Bowl commercial for a company that sells firearms, but I have to question why any firearms company would want to be associated with the safety-ignorant NFL.
Unless this was all just a marketing scheme, in which case it was brilliant. The ad was seen by millions, and the NFL didn’t make a cent.