It takes some guts to write (and, for The Bee’s editorial page, to publish) a piece critical of football while the community is in the midst of Bulldog-slash-Derek-Carr fever. But that’s what retired Fresno lawyer Phil Fullerton did in Monday’s paper. His intriguing piece tackles the issue of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), brain damage that often results in dementia-like symptoms of reduced mental activity and slurred speech. The issue is currently getting a lot of media oxygen.
Even if it’s definitively proven that football causes longterm brain injuries, there’s no way the sport would be abolished, Fullerton writes. It makes too much money. But there will be an effect, he writes:
So what will happen if it is not outlawed? I think the answer is clear. Most parents like myself will no longer allow their children to play. I have surveyed my family and all my children and grandchildren concur. We are a typical middle-class family, and all our friends report the same powerful refusal to allow their young men to play this sport.
So what will happen? The sport will be “Romanized.” In the Roman Empire there were huge coliseums not only in Rome but in places like Arles, Trier and Tunisia. The public was constantly entertained by games, often fatal, staged by the least powerful of society: the slaves, prisoners and minorities. While crowds screamed, emperors would signal a thumbs up or down telling of life or death.
There will be a similar result in the United States. The most needful will play the game: those who have the bleakest outlook in life, need scholarships, are poor and are the least educated.
The issue isn’t settled. One Facebook commenter on Fullerton’s piece says there has been very little peer-reviewed scientific data that establishes a risk between football and brain injuries. But Fullerton’s point that parents are already forbidding their boys to play football suggests that there already is an impact.
Something tells me Mr. Fullerton isn’t getting invited to any Red Wave tailgates.
Things that had people dropping our favorite F-word: That Fresno State would have played as good as Notre Dame. Or Fresno City. That Fresno State, thankfully, wasn’t the only team getting mollywhopped in a bowl game. The Alabama-Fresno State connection. See ‘em all below.
This video tribute to Fresno State Football from local country duo Whisky Row — made up of Mike Pereira and Jason Ruffoni, both of Kerman — is making the rounds on social media today.
You can catch Whisky Row in concert tomorrow night (Thursday, Sept. 6) at the Craft Beer & Wine Music Festival near Eureka! Burger in northwest Fresno. The festival runs from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Park Place shopping center at Palm and Nees avenues. Admission is $15.
As part of the festival you can pick up the band’s wine, Westside Ride Red. The wine is a blend of cabernet sauvignon and syrah. This is what Ruffoni said about the wine in a recent Bee column from Bethany Clough:
“It would have been predictable for us to go, ‘Oh, here’s some whiskey, ” he says. “We should have our own wine. Other acts back east have a whiskey or a moonshine.”
We’re ending our 2011 Rewind on a note that Beehive readers love. Controversy, we live for it. So which was your favorite of 2011? It could be something that caused a fuss locally or it could be Kardashian related on the national scale. Either way, go for it. Check out our picks and leave your own in the comments.
On Sunday, athletic director Thomas Boeh said: “We’ve been evaluating data after each season for the last several years, and we saw a trend that was not reflective of us being able to pursue the goal of a conference championship, and our community was not responding any longer to the record that we had.”
In a press conference this morning, Hill said, among other things: “I feel that I gave it my best shot for 15 years, it wasn’t good enough. I hope the next man can come in and take you all where you want to go … So as I say goodbye, I thank you for everything. I think the Fresno State football program is in a great position to make a run. … Thank you for everything you gave me. Goodbye, Fresno.”
As the Pat Hill era comes to a close, we at The Beehive have identified five very important things that are likely to see happen in the post-Pat Hill era at Fresno State.
As you look at the schedule and plot out your course, here are five more things to consider. (More info, like ticket details and hashtaggery, over at The Fresnan).
VENUE CLUSTERS: It’s seems like this year, more than any before it, the festival organizers have done a good job of getting all the venues really close to each other — perfecting the venue-hopping idea that gives a festival like FUSE so much appeal. Tonight’s cluster of venues is near Chukchansi Park while Saturday’s is in the Mural District. Here’s hoping this gives the festival an even cooler vibe.
When we think of Fresno’s favorite annual fall events, most people probably think of The Big Fresno Fair. But that’s No. 2 on my list.
What I look forward to most each year is when Fresnans take a dizzying ride on the “Fire Pat Hill” carousel.
I’ll be honest: I had planned to post a poll this week asking at what point in the season the Fresno State football fans would turn their pre-season excitement into mid-season Pat Hill ire. It happens at some point every year. It’s fun to try to predict when. Angry Red Wavers beat me to it, though, after what many are deeming an embarrassing loss last weekend against Cal.
The game wasn’t even over by the time the “Fire Pat Hill” tweets starting flying. The consequent debate on 1430 ESPN was about who should and shouldn’t be allowed to criticize the football program. It’s like our own little local version of the Brett Favre will-he-play, won’t-he-play saga. Just wait. It’s coming. Every year.
I didn’t do too awfully much this weekend. A play-by-play would be a bit tedious. So you guys are going to have to carry this one. Did you ….
See Big Bad Voodoo Daddy at Warnors Theatre? I’ve heard it was a make-it-or-break-it show for the Fulton Street Project. We’ve already got conflicting comments about crowd size. Any first-hand accounts? Was the band good?
Chase cougars? The California Cougar Convention was at The Standard on Saturday night, and Miss Cougar California was chosen from the herd. Anybody go? Was it cool? Or absolutely ridiculous? Any Fresno lads have a taxidermy cougar head mounted on their wall this Monday morning (figuratively speaking)?
Go into hiding, Fresno State football fan? The ‘Dogs got walloped on national TV by Boise State, 51-0. We wouldn’t blame you if you drank the weekend away after that one. The Niners fans understand.
Anything else of note? Good entertainment? Yummy food? Let’s hear it!
I just finished an interview with Nick Lachey for his NBC series “The Sing-Off.” I’ll write more about that show that pits a cappella singers against each other when we get closer to the start of the second season.
Before we got started talking about his show, Lachey told me about how he’s bought a home in Cincinnati. He’s been a big fan of the Cincinnati Bengals, Reds and Bearcats for years.
“You guys played the Bearcats last year and gave them a tough game,” Lachey says.
Fresno State played the Cincinnati school last year in Ohio and lost 28-20. The two teams get together again this year for the Fresno State season opener but this year’s showdown will be here.
Lachey would like to be at the game but he’s got a scheduling conflict. You still should keep an eye open for him when you go to the Sept. 4 game just in case the singer/actor’s plans change.
Forget the generosity and altruism. Hill is taking a pay cut because he has to. The Fresno market can’t support a $1 million football coach, plain and simple.
Is my thinking colored by my annoyance with a society in which a select few athletes, investment bankers and pharmaceutical salespeople get filthy rich while teachers and nurses and other common folk (including, yes, artists) scrape by? You bet. I’ve always thought it depressing that Hill could get that much money at Fresno State while many professors scrape by paying off massive student loans. But that’s the way our supply-and-demand economic system works, and it’s what happens when we inexplicably conflate athletic entertainment with our system of higher education. Now that the market is adjusting a football coach’s salary the other direction for a change, I can’t help but be a little pleased. And forgive me if I refrain from declaring Hill a hero. He’s still making plenty of dough.
Somewhere along the way, the Beehive might have gained a teensy reputation for being, well, a little less than fanatical about Fresno State athletics. But that doesn’t mean we don’t care what happens in tonight’s game against Boise State. Heck, we’ve lost seven of the last eight matchups, so there’s a dim awareness even in the Beehive’s football-unimpressed ranks that there’s a sense of community pride at stake.
In Thursday’s paper, Bee sportswriter Bryant-Jon Anteola gave us a cover story filled with some very valid ways that the Bulldogs could win the battle. Now we’d like you to help us with Part II, which can be summed up in one word:
Here’s my way: Slip $35 — we can subtract it from Coach Hill’s salary, which means he’ll only make $999,965 this year — to the driver of the bus in charge of transporting the Boise State team to the stadium and ask him to drive to Yosemite instead. By the time the Broncos reach Oakhurst — and are marveling at just how scenic Fresno is despite what they’ve heard about its strip-mall topography — it will be far too late to get to the game on time. To cement the plan, we’ll arrange for a motorhome to drive 15 mph in front of the bus when it turns around on Highway 41. They won’t get back until the third quarter at least.
My prediction for the score: 436-28, Bulldogs.
Any more diabolical schemes out there for ensuring Bulldog victory?