The stories are separate, but they’re not separate. Not really. In Kansas City, we have an NFL player killing his girlfriend and then himself — and the shadow of football and its insidious head injuries hangs over it.
In New Orleans, we have former commissioner Paul Tagliabue presiding over the bounty hearing, in which four Saints stand accused of promoting a dollars-for-decapitation system.
In Baltimore, we have future Hall of Famer Ed Reed saying the league is trying to legislate the aggressiveness out of the game, turn it into “powder puff.”
Throw in the concussion lawsuits, which are approaching 4,000 plaintiffs, and, well, it’s pretty clear the direction pro football is heading — the direction it must head if it’s to remain a viable enterprise. It might not morph into the “powder puff” version envisioned by Reed, but it’ll increasingly be a kinder, gentler place, kind of like a really contentious 7-on-7 passing scrimmage.