Seeing is the NFL Believing in Oakley’s Prizm Visors
By Lenn Robbins
Andrew Luck chose life over football.
He was done with the blood in his urine, the pain in his body, the cobwebs in his head. The 29-year-old Colts quarterback, with full life to be lived, did what any sane, mature, young man should do. He retired.
These are some of the responses Luck received:
Some television announcers quickly bemoaned their disappointment because they were going to pick Luck in their fantasy football draft.
Some Colts fans, who must be a quarter of a chromosome short of human, booed Luck as he tossed passes on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday when the news broke.
Many debated whether or not Luck should repay some of his contract.
How Luck’s retirement affects the Colts also made for a lot reading.
Luck’s short and long-term health was not a sexy story, so it got buried.
Now, consider these story lines:
Luck now probably has a good chance of watching the child he and longtime girlfriend Nicole Pechanec are expecting to grow up. He can push her on the swings, attend her school functions, maybe even toss a football around.
Luck now probably avoids being one of the former NFL players sitting at home that don’t know they’re sitting at home because their brains are irreparably damaged.
Luck now probably won’t be one of the former NFL players – such as Jim Otto, who literally is sitting at home – because they’re cripples. Otto had his right leg amputated in 2007 after injury led to surgery and infection.
Luck no longer is one of the current NFL players that are considering the long-term health risks associated with their profession. Other players are actively managing their injury care.
“I think it takes an immense amount of courage, an immense amount of self-reflection and a lot of guts to do what he’s doing,’’ said Texas defensive end J.J. Watt.
Here’s one of the undisputed truths in life that none of us should ever forget: The only people that truly care about you are your family, close friends and pets.
Big business certainly doesn’t care. And the NFL, which finishes its preseason Thursday, is very big business.
It’s so big that three days after Luck announced his retirement, the NFL and Oakley announced a four-year deal in which the sports performance equipment company becomes the league’s official helmet visor provider.
It didn’t seem like a particularly interesting announcement until one recalls that tinted visors have been banned by the NFL since 1998. Visors only could be used if the player was granted medical exemption.
Tinted visors were banned for safety.
Medical personnel feared that a helmet with a tinted visor could make it more difficult to see a player’s eyes in evaluating possible concussion. And removing a helmet with a visor could be hazardous in the event of spinal cord injury.
Oakley claims, and the NFL nods in agreement, that its visors can be easily and safely removed without removing the helmet.
Oakley claims, and the NFL nods in agreement, that its subtle pink tint visors will not hinder medical personnel from looking into a player’s eyes.
Oakley claims its Prizm Clear visors feature Prizm technology which makes, “the colors on the field pop. The football against the green field and the white hashmarks and sidelines should all stand out more to the player.”
Sorry, just teared up for sec. Oakley better patent that statement because it sounds like a Hallmark card in the making.
Here’s the deal. We’d love to believe that these visors are safe and truly offer a scientific breakthrough in vision, but why in the world would any player take Oakley and the NFL’s claims at face value?
Read of the terrific and terrifying book, “League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for the Truth,” by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru, and any mature young man will question if their health is the league’s priority.
We don’t know how much Oakley is paying for this partnership. We do know that the Oakley logo will have a place on every NFL field. And that’s not cheap.
We do know that Oakley’s Sutro frames with Prizm-lense sunglasses go for $163 a pop, so yes, we hope colors will pop, pop, pop.
None of us know exactly what the last four years have been like for the oft-injured Luck. He should go on to live a happy and healthy life. He won’t end up like Otto or so many others.
You don’t need Prizm lenses to see that.