Friday, April 25, 2014

The Concussion Conundrum Continues : Bernie Sacked By the Browns

Article written by Joel Samphir (AKA The Comish)

Bernie Kosar Cleveland Browns Autographed 8x10 Photograph - Mounted MemoriesI remember with fondness the days of Bernie Kosar, Ernest Byner, Webster Slaughter , the Dog Pound and the teams memorable playoff battles with its AFC rivals, specifically the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders. It has coincided with my becoming a Sunday afternoon arm chair quarterback/couch potato.

Kosar KO’d By Concussions

Unfortunately, it appears that that Mr. Kosar, the former No. 1 overall pick in the 1985 NFL Supplemental Draft and the Cleveland Browns second all-time quarterback in passing completions (1,853), yards (21,904) and quarterback rating (81.6 does not have such fond memories as he claims that all the concussions he suffered  caused him to have slurred speech, which he blames as reason he was sacked from his position as color commentator for the Browns.

Naturally, the Cleveland Browns and WKYC maintain this was not the reason  for Kosar being replaced and that he was offered another position at the same pay rate as they wanted to change things up. They have apparently replaced him with another former NFL’er, Solomon Wilcotts but are in discussions with Kosar to find a new role for him.

You Can’t Handle the Truth

These situations always become a game of he said, she said with the truth being somewhere in the middle. It is not as if Kosar is an innocent choir boy with an impeccable record. You may recall last year he raised the hair (who knew that was possible) on the head of St. Louise Rams coach, Jeff Fisher by stating that he could not stand watching his back up QB, Kellen Clemens play. Kosar’s battles with the bottle are also well documented including a DUI charge.

However, this is America and everyone gets a second chance, particularly athletes and former first round draft picks as the Brown’s stood by Bernie last season despite those issues. I don’t recall him claiming the Clemen’s comments or his drinking were because of concussions.

Time to Take Responsibility

I have never been pounded into the ground by a 300 pound nose tackle or hit by a 230 pound missile disguised as an NFL safety.  Therefore, I can only imagine how an NFL quarterback feels after one hit let alone a career worth of such treatment but I have followed sports long enough to know that athletes, in general, have a sense of entitlement that comes from the preferential treatment they get when they are at the height of their success.

They are afforded opportunities most of us mere mortals will never get.  They walk in rarefied air and are coddled all the way until the cheering stops and they are left looking in the mirror asking themselves what is next. How do I get that rush again or are my best days behind me.
Bernie Kosar found his footing as a broadcaster which enabled him to partially relive his glory days.  Therefore, it is easy to see why he is looking for any reason other than his own actions to blame for his demotion/firing.
The Brown’s and WKYC for obvious reasons cannot attribute this move to anything other than it was time for a change in the booth. They would not only put themselves but the NFL in legal peril should they in any way attribute Bernie getting the boot due to his impairment: slurred speech.

 Is it an Excuse or is it time to for Bernie to Get Help

It would be heartless and slanderous of anyone to say that Mr. Kosar is using his concussions as an excuse for his behavior unless you are walking in his shoes and seeing life through his eyes. In fact it may be the only way he can find peace of mind as he deals with rejection, which is a word that athletes treat with almost as much disdain as they do their opponents.

However, in Mr. Kosar’s case he has now come to the harsh realization that he is suffering from an affliction that cannot be swept under the rug by his employer finding a new role for him.  He has a problem and it must be dealt with head on just like he took all those hellacious hits over the years.

Unfortunately for those people that must be held accountable for their behavior will continue to stick their heads in the sand or throw money at the problem, which is like putting a band aid on a broken leg.  This problem must be dealt with before the consensus becomes that players are using concussions as a crutch.

The only way to stop this from happening is to stop playing ‘he said/she said’ and meet in the middle by agreeing that despite its best efforts concussions are a problem that retired players should not be left to deal with on their own.

Bernie Kosar

Was Bernie Kosar replaced at WKYC because of his concussions?

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