Frank DeFord, perhaps America’s most distinguished sports reporter on the NFL, and domestic violence committed by, and concussions inflicted on, its players.
Our guest today is writer and journalist Frank Deford. Our subject, the NFL, football, and violence. The National Football League is the 1% of professional athletics, the richest sport, with some of the richest and most admired performers, its televised games are the highest-priced, most widely popular athletic commodity in America. But it has a violence problem, 2 of them at least: violence turned inward player on player, which a recent study suggested will leave 1/3 of its players with some form of irreversible brain damage. And then, there’s the NFL’s problem of violence turned outward, assaults and batteries, most consistently violence within the family, victimizing wives, girl-friends, even children. No one has written or spoken out more sharply on these issues than Frank Deford.
How to describe Frank Deford. First of all, he is a writer of clean, elegant and decisive prose, and of fiction that mixes both penetrating empathy for character and often daring moral judgment with prose that has the richness and beauty of poetry.
Frank Deford has written 17, or is it 18 books, 2 screenplays and several libraries of magazine articles, television and radio scripts. 6 times his colleagues have named him U.S. Sportswriter of The Year. and of course, he’s in the sports journalists’ Hall of Fame. And beyond the press box, For sixteen years, Deford served as national chairman of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and he remains chairman emeritus.
And to top it off, Deford is a real mensch