Larry Fedora, who wears a visor, gave a weird press conference at the Atlantic Coast Conference’s football media day.
The North Carolina head ball coach was asked about a variety of topics and spun off on a stream-of-consciousness discussion about the state of the game in the United States.
From Raleigh’s ABC11:
Fedora also spoke specifically about how rule changes in college football are changing the game, and not for the better. As football goes, Fedora said, so goes our country.
“Our game is under attack,” Fedora said. “I fear that the game will be pushed so far from what we know that we won’t recognize it 10 years from now. And if it does, our country will go down, too.”
Fedora also relayed the following anecdote: He spoke with a general – military branch unknown – and asked what made America’s forces the strongest in the world. It’s because the U.S. is the only country that plays football, the general replied, per Fedora.
“I think because of the lessons you learn in the game of football relate to everything you’re going to do for the rest of your life,” Fedora said. “When we stop learning those lessons, we’re going to struggle.
Okay, well, I agree that football teaches life lessons, but it’s certainly not the only source of wisdom and knowledge. You could probably learn the same lessons from basketball or baseball or marching band or debate club. And I don’t know if our military is the strongest in the world because we play football, it could also be that we spend 600 billion dollars on it.
There’s another quote on this topic from USA Today:
“There will be decline of our country, there’s no doubt,” Fedora said. “There’s no doubt in my mind. I think because the lessons you learn in the game of football relate to everything that’s going to happen in the rest of your life, and if we stop learning those lessons we’re going to struggle and I think in some ways we’re struggling more now than we ever have. Are we ever going to be a perfect country? No, not by any means but I do think the game of football has had a major impact on who we are as a country.”
Fedora also spoke about CTE, disputing the link between the disease and football head injuries:
UNC coach Larry Fedora came back out a few minutes ago to clarify remarks with reporters, although he didn’t exactly back down from his earlier comments. pic.twitter.com/VY7GdxF0ma
— Matt Fortuna (@Matt_Fortuna) July 18, 2018
Couple of things here:
First, the science is pretty sound. Repeated head trauma of any kind, be it football or lacrosse or MMA or even non-sports contact is connected to CTE. One of the key research centers on the topic is located on UNC’s campus.
Second, he’s right that things are being done to make the game safer. The rules are different and the technology is different and people ARE taking the issue seriously. If anything, the United States is at forefront of the head injury movement. Just watch foreign soccer to see how players take huge hits and are thrown right back in the game. Culturally, we view concussions much differently than other countries do.
Third, there’s a group of people who behave like the Social Justice Warriors of head injuries, who go around lecturing everyone on right and wrong and trying to tell you what to do with your life. Thing is – NO ONE IS FORCING YOU TO PLAY FOOTBALL. Period. The end. This is the United States of America. If you want to get an abortion, you can get an abortion. If you want to risk your long-term health by becoming a boxer, go for it. If you want to drink a bunch of soda and eat tacos and turn into a fat blob, fine (but then we get into the healthcare thing and blah blah).
But as a basic guideline, as long as you understand the possible consequences of your decisions, you should be pretty much free to live life as you see fit.
Thanks for reading.