Tuesday, May 15, 2012

PAGING JONATHAN VOSBURG:  Ah, when warnings collide -- Don't Let Your Son Play Football versus Don't Go To Law School Unless You're Sure It'll Work, as undrafted Ohio State linebacker Andrew Sweat, having been offered a training camp invite to the Cleveland Browns, will instead enroll in law school at Pittsburgh, Duquesne, West Virginia, Florida, or the University of Miami.

Look: he may well not make it to an NFL roster, and after he suffered a concussion last season I certainly understand why he'd tweet this:
Concussion symptoms didn't want to risk it.. Thanks to the browns for the opportunity. Health trumps football any day
Except for this: law school is always going to be there, and I imagine he'd do even better on the LSAT without the burdens of playing Big Ten football. Meanwhile, why not give the NFL a try, and if he ever suffers concussive brain trauma again retire immediately -- though I'd note that whatever long-term health impact football will have on him, most of it has already been incurred from having played high school and college ball. So I side with Elie Mystal:
Maybe playing in the NFL would take an incredible toll on his body, but this is the only time in his life, forever, that he’ll get a chance to try to make that career happen for himself and reap the considerable economic rewards that come from being a player in the NFL. Going to law school and becoming a lawyer will take an incredible toll on his personality and psyche, and it’s a journey that can be started at any time. He could break his neck and become a paraplegic and still go to law school. But it’s very likely that even one year of sitting in a classroom listening to somebody drone on about torts and civil procedure will kill his football career.
Update, May 17: This post has been denounced and rejected by its author.


  1. isaac_spaceman10:47 AM

    1.  Having already suffered most of the damage doesn't mean that it's irrational to want to suffer no additional damage.  I work to avoid subconcussive head trauma, not to mention concussions, every minute of every day of my life.  Who are we to tell Sweat that he shouldn't? 
    2.  While going to law school when your heart is not in it is a bad idea, surely trying to make it in the NFL when your heart is not in it is an even worse idea. 
    3.  The notion that law school makes you a bad person or "takes a toll on your personality and psyche" is preposterous.  We're all aware that the cost/reward calculation makes law school a bad investment, maybe a crippling one, for huge numbers of people, and that going to law school just because you can't think of anything else to do with your life is dumb.  We should also be aware that there are bad and unhappy people in law school.  There are bad people in law school because there are bad people in the world, and some of them go to law school, just as some of them go to work for investment banks and some of them become teachers and some of them go into the military and some of them become librarians, or politicians, or electricians, or homemakers, or clerics.  There are unhappy people in law school for the same reason, and there also are some people who are made unhappy by law school because of the debt/reward calculation or because they don't want to work hard or because it just wan't right for them.  But most people who enjoy learning can find something to enjoy in law school, and if you can't, that's not law school's fault. 

  2. I do want to agree with you on #3, and it's something you said well last week on the topic: for many people, law school (and lawyering) is incredibly rewarding and satisfying, something we cannot do without.

  3. Marsha10:59 AM

    I've said my piece on the law school side of this, but wanted to wholeheartedly agree with Isaac's number 1. The next concussion could be the one that leaves him with irreversible brain damage. Caution is good, especially when you've already been hurt. Good for him for protecting his brain.

  4. Genevieve11:36 AM

    Strongly agree with Isaac and Marsha.  If he's had symptoms that are already scaring him, that is a damn fine reason to quit and I don't think anyone should second-guess that.  Having anything happen to your brain is very frightening.  He can't go to law school later if he can't reason, if he can't concentrate enough to work through cases, if he can't listen in class because of blinding headaches. 

  5. His mama didn't let him grow up to be a cowboy, so I say: SUCCESS.

  6. Nigel from Cameroon12:27 PM

    He just doesn't want to play. And as an undrafted player, his chances of making it are miniscule.

  7. sconstant12:49 PM

    Yes yes yes on #1.  "Oh, that's where you want to go?  Watch me and just get off two stops before I do."

  8. This is the missing piece. "Undrafted training camp invitee" is very rarely the recipe for an NFL career, and I can understand just wanting to move on with one's life. Also agree with Isaac 1-3.

  9. victoria9:10 AM

    But it's not just concussions; there are people with CTE who have never had a documented concussion. Especially being a linebacker, you can't just avoid it.

  10. victoria9:10 AM

    "It" being head trauma.