Fitness and Intelligence in the NFL

Fitness and Intelligence
Myron Rolle

Continuing with last month’s theme of fitness and intelligence, check out this great article by Aaron Gordon of SB Nation on Rhodes Scholar and former Florida State defensive back Myron Rolle: The Rejection of Myron Rolle.

Some questions raised by this piece:

1. Myron Rolle is unquestionably one of the rare people who excel in both the intellectual and physical realms. But what if he had chosen to focus on only one of his talents? Would Rolle have become a Rhodes Scholar without his athletic drive and success on the football field? Would he have become a top-flight safety without his innate intelligence and capacity to learn?

2. Consider the implication of the following quote from the article: “Given Rolle’s activism on health care-related issues while at Florida State and Oxford, it’s easy to see teams imagining Rolle becoming an unofficial spokesperson on brain trauma … Perhaps the NFL wasn’t scared of Rolle simply because of his intelligence, but because they were afraid of how he might use that intelligence.” If true, the men who run the NFL look a lot like Roman emperors throwing gladiators into the ring. How accurate is this portrayal of football’s higher-ups? How accurate is this portrayal of players who are not Rhodes Scholars and future neurosurgeons? And what does this assessment say about NFL fans who crave the big-hit highlights we now know are so dangerous?