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Fallen heroes

Too soon.
  • Too soon.

The sad and untimely death of San Diego Padre great Tony Gwynn on June 16 from salivary gland cancer caused by a lifetime of dipping tobacco while playing baseball should in no way bring to mind the sad and untimely death of Junior Seau in 2012 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound brought on by depression caused by chronic traumatic encephalopathy caused by a lifetime of skull-smashing while playing football, a spokesman for San Diego Sports Boosters, Inc. said today.

"Totally unrelated," said SDSB rep Sid Greise. "Also, totally unsubstantiated. Sure, both players were hall of famers. And both were San Diego icons. And both died before they were 55. And both died from causes that could, from a certain perspective, be traced to the culture of their respective sports. But that perspective isn't factual. Or at least, it certainly isn't legal."

"What is essential to remember is that, while the deaths of both Mr. Seau and Mr. Gwynn are heartbreaking and even tragic, they both occurred after the athletes had left the world of professional sports. Mr. Seau retired in 2009 and died in 2012. Mr. Gwynn retired way back in 2001. They were no longer affiliated with their respective leagues in any official capacity. It's true that Tony Gwynn was occasionally referred to as 'Mr. Padre,' and it's even true that this title is etched in stone below the statue of him that stands outside San Diego's Petco Park. But the fact remains that it was not any kind of licensed, codified appellation. And just because an athlete plays for an organization for his entire professional career does not mean that the organization maintains any kind of obligation toward that athlete once he retires. I mean, it's not like you can sue the United States Government when some PTSD-afflicted veteran slips a cog and starts firing rounds at passing cars. I mean, if PTSD is even a thing."

"Long story short: baseball is not about to outlaw onfield dipping. And football is not about to tone down the tackles. And we here at San Diego Sports Boosters are okay with that. The best way to honor the legacies of Mr. Gwynn and Mr. Seau is to remember their great plays. Not to try and change the business that made those great plays possible. Everybody dies. But not everybody lives the way these two did."

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