Mike Ditka thinks the risks of football is worse than reward

New Orleans Saints v Chicago Bears

The 1985 Chicago Bears embodied hard-nosed football, but three decades later their equally tough-minded Hall of Fame coach — who once famously declared, “If God had wanted man to play soccer, he wouldn’t have given us arms” — is rethinking his game plan.

That’s right: Even Mike Ditka is questioning the violent nature of the sport in the wake of advancements in concussion research and his own experience with veterans plagued by health problems.

During an interview with Bryant Gumbel, Ditka asked Gumbel if he would want his hypothetical eight-year-old son to play football.

Gumbel responded with a no, and Ditka agreed.

” Nope — and that’s sad, ” Ditka said in the piece. ” I wouldn’t. My whole life was football. I think the risk is worse than the reward. I really do. ”

In addition to the experiences of his ex-players, Ditka has a wealth of knowledge on the subject, serving as president of the Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund’s efforts to provide support for retired NFL players. In the HBO feature, the former Bears coach expresses his desire for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to implement additional policies benefiting those affected by the violent nature of the sport.

As Ditka said, ” You wouldn’t have a damn job right now if it wasn’t for those guys. “


Gumbel interviewed Ditka as part of an upcoming piece on the 1985 Bears, who Ditka coached. The Bears went 15-1, winning their only Super Bowl to date with a team featuring Hall of Famer’s Walter Payton, Mike Singletary and Richard Dent.


Pep Guardiola is most eager to see Messi staying at Barcelona throughout his career

Barcelona's Messi celebrates his second goal with teammates during their Spanish first division soccer match against Sevilla at Nou Camp stadium in Barcelona

Former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola has told Lionel Messi to stay at Barcelona and remain loyal to coach Luis Enrique.

Last week the four-time world player of the year appeared to be as close as ever to a Camp Nou exit after admitting he was unsure where he would be playing his football next season.

Reigning Premier League champions Manchester City have since been linked with a world record move for the forward, who was said to be unhappy at being dropped from the Barca side that lost 1-0 to Real Sociedad earlier this month.

Bayern Munich coach Guardiola told Messi he should appreciate what he means to Barcelona and what the club has given him, both in his professional and personal life. Guardiola also reminded the 27-year-old of the unanimous support he has from everyone at the club, stressing that no other club can show him the same level of backing.

Messi has always listened to those he respects and owes so much of his career to and the sentiments of his former mentor Guardiola have made a real impression on him. The duo won three Liga titles, two Champions League crowns and two club world titles during Guardiola’s four seasons with the club.

Pep insisted that Luis Enrique has what it takes to be successful with the Catalan giants and urged Messi to remain calm and committed to the club, vowing that the upcoming presidential elections would bring to an end what has been a turbulent 12 months or so for the club.

Former chief Sandro Rosell was forced to step down after revealing the controversial financial details of the club’s acquisition of Brazil star Neymar. A two-window transfer embargo was then enforced by Fifa after the club were found to have breached regulations regarding the transfers of under-18 players.

Messi, who does not have a close relationship with Luis Enrique or any of the members of the current board, was relieved to receive the reassurances from his former boss.

It will be a tough match for China team


IF things had taken a different turn, Alain Perrin could have been heavily involved in the development of the A-League, rather than coaching against the Socceroos on Thursday.

In 2006 the 58-year-old Frenchman, now coach of China, was a candidate to replace Pierre Littbarski at Sydney FC after the German coach had quit the champions over a pay dispute, and Perrin was keen to try his hand on a new frontier.

Alain Perrin’s China have been the tournament’s surprise-packets so far, winning all three games to top a tough group ahead of Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia. He has predicted a “very difficult” test when his side face host nation Australia in the Asian Cup quarter-finals.

On Sunday in Canberra, the Chinese disposed of North Korea 2-1 in front of a vocal pro-China crowd.
It means Perrin’s men have a meeting with Australia in Brisbane on Thursday night for a spot in the semi-finals.
Perrin, whose side won two of their three group games on the bumpy Brisbane Stadium surface, says his team is gaining confidence with each outing in the tournament.
“We know to play the host team will be very difficult for us but after three difficult matches we’ve got a new record for China with nine points,” said Perrin after Sunday’s 2-1 victory over North Korea.
“During our first two games we played in Brisbane and we know the pitch condition and we know it’s not very good.
“I think it’s a pity for a knockout stage game.”
Attacker Sun Ke was the hero for China against the Koreans, scoring both goals in a dominant first-half display.
When asked about facing the home side, the Jiangsu Sainty winger said: “Of course Australia are a very strong team and this time they are the hosts. I’m sure the next match will be very difficult for us.
“But we just need to do what we should do. I think if we can focus on the game, and keep our concentration to make sure we pay attention to every detail, I think we can leave the pitch having performed well.”