Fear the Beard….
Some people may associate that slogan with the Houston Rockets’ James Harden, but for us Detroit Lions’ fans that term brings to mind our stud-linebacker DeAndre Levy. His play is characterized by his sharp football instincts and stunning athleticism. He missed almost all of last season with a hip injury, and it was obvious that the defense missed his contributions out there. He played in every single game the previous two seasons and tied the lead for interceptions in 2013 with six picks. With the departure of Ndamukong Suh last offseason, he is now the face of the defense and a force to be reckoned with.
But he is so much more than just some meathead linebacker. He is a complicated and mysterious individual who has a zest for life off the field, that makes both his coaches and fans nervous with some of his offseason exploits. His Instagram account details the life of an explorer, adventurer and adrenaline junky who routinely does outrageous things like camping in the Amazon, sledding down active volcanos and walking on the wings of planes in mid air. He’s like if Bodie from ‘Point Break’ was a millionaire football player and stand up guy.
I don’t know him personally but I also get the feeling that he is highly intelligent. With all the recent revelations surrounding the lasting effects of concussions associated with playing football, it was only a matter of time before he let the world know his thoughts on the whole thing. In the last few weeks he has done just that, taking to his Instagram to comment on all the latest revelations on CTE and boneheaded comments from team owners, before finally emailing Detroit Free Press reporter Dave Birkett with some more in-depth thoughts on the matter.
First he took to Instagram to roast Colts owner, Jim Irsay over his ludicrous comments on CTE:
Sure, poking fun at Mr Irsay’s prescription drug abuse problem is probably a little below the belt. But you know what? A person who has gotten rich on the backs and battered brains of football players, trying to downplay the risks of the sport is pretty shitty too. Jim Irsay had the balls to say that the risks of playing football could be comparable to how some people might have a negative reaction to taking aspirin. That is not only ridiculous, but it’s dangerous. Look, I love football, but the people who put their health at risk to play the game deserve to know the risks and deserve to have ownership and management take those risks seriously. So maybe he went about it the wrong way in calling out Irsay, but the fact that he is willing to stand up to the league on this matter means that he might have a future as the president of the NFLPA, the union for the league’s players. In his letter to Dave Birtkett he said “It’s unacceptable to prioritize marketability and profitability of football over the real health risks associated with it.” If that doesn’t sound like someone who should be leading the charge on player safety then I don’t know what does.
@nfl Why is Dr. Elliot Pellman, the rheumatologist who helped concealed and lied about the link between football and CTE, still employed by you guys? A photo posted by DeAndre Levy (@dre_levy) on
By being outspoken on the issue when most of his peers would rather not rock the boat, DeAndre Levy has proven that he isn’t scared to step into the spotlight take the issue head on. He said that he still loves football and will keep playing, but that doesn’t mean he is naive about the risks involved. His justification for continuing to play is that he is already so deep in the game that whatever potential damage he may cause has already been done, so he may as well secure is family’s future by playing out his contract. I respect that, and I respect the fact that he wants to make sure future players know the risks before they put on the pads and crash full speed into another fully grown man.
This is just the type of leader that the players’ union needs. Once he is done with football, I hope DeAndre Levy seriously thinks about becoming the next president of the NFLPA. He is eloquent, knowledgable and right when it comes to this issue. Football is a beautiful game, but it doesn’t come without risks, and if the league and the owners continue to try and cover up those risks then there needs to be someone to call them out on it. And I think the bearded linebacker of the Detroit Lions is just the man for the job. Maybe it’s time for the NFL as a whole to Fear the Beard.