|"I don't want my children to go through life scared." - LaVar Arrington (Getty Images)|
LaVar Arrington the second-overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft, a hard-hitting linebacker out of Penn State who made his living meting out punishment to unsuspecting quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers. After a playing career cut short by injuries, Arrington now has his own sports talk radio show in Washington, DC.
On Tuesday, he appeared on ESPN's Outside the Lines to continue the conversation Kurt Warner started several days ago: is football so dangerous that we shouldn't let our kids participate? Warner said he didn't want his children to play because of the inherent injury risks. To which Amani Toomer responded: "Kurt Warner needs to keep his opinions to himself when it comes to this."
Trevor Pryce then weighed in on Toomer weighing in on Warner, and Osi Umenyiora offered his very own sobering reality: he thinks he'll be in a wheelchair by the time he's 45.
And that brings us back to Arrington.
“To me, it's sissification, and I think that's the only way to put it,” he said according to ProFootballTalk.com. “I will not go through my life scared and I don't want my children to go through life scared. I started playing football when I was eight years old and I would never not want to give that opportunity to my children.”
Choosing to not let your kids play football shouldn't be confused with going through life scared. Most people also wouldn't let their children jump off a bridge with a rubber band tied to their feet, leap from an airplane tens of thousands of feet off the ground, or try to outrun Bulls in Spain.
Also worth mentioning: pain and fear are strong survival mechanisms. A healthy amount of fear-driven perspective shouldn't be viewed as a bad thing. After all, there's a reason players have to wear helmets and pads. Humans haven't evolved to be Muskox; we weren't meant to run full speed into each other.
Arrington says that he wants his son, LaVar II, to play football and that's certainly his right. Just like it's Warner's right to decide to have his kids do something else.
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