Ed Cunningham, former NFL player, resigned as a sports analyst for ESPN recently for a very controversial reason. According to the New York Times, his role was considered one of the top jobs in the sports industry.
After nearly 20 years, Cunningham announced that he can no longer support and be a part of the damaging effects that football players face out on the field. The New York Times also reported that he may be the first lead broadcaster to leave over the major football controversy.
Cunningham stated, “I take full ownership of my alignment with the sport. I can just no longer be in that cheerleader’s spot...In its current state, there are some real dangers: broken limbs, wear and tear. But the real crux of this is that I just don’t think the game is safe for the brain. To me, it’s unacceptable.”
The National Football League has been in the midst of this controversy for years after discovering the damaging effects that football players risk in every game. In 2015, Will Smith starred in a movie, “Concussion,” which outlines the theory of professional football players suffering “brain degeneration,” commonly known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).
The progressive disease has been a major factor in the football controversy. Common symptoms of CTE (memory loss, confusion, depression, anxiety, aggression, suicidal behavior, etc.) can be related to the football player when living; However, a CTE correlation can only officially be diagnosed in an autopsy, after the individual is deceased.
This year, a study was published demonstrating very disturbing results, and backing Cunningham’s reason for resignation— CTE was found in 99% of football players’ brains from the NFL. Additionally, CTE was discovered in 87% of American football players “across all levels of play,” including other professional leagues, college football, and even former high school players.
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