Feb 5


Monday Morning Read

Retired Bills great Al Bemiller suffered from dementia. The NFL has a fund to help out players in need, but the league welched, as it has with hundreds of other players.

If you’re as old as me, you may remember Al Bemiller, a center and guard on the Bills offensive line during the 1964-65 championship years. He played nine seasons for the Bills and was selected to its Silver Anniversary Team in 1984.

Bemiller was featured prominently last week in a Washington Post investigation about the NFL’s failure to compensate many retired players suffering from dementia resulting from concussions and other injuries they suffered while playing.

When Al Bemiller filed his settlement claim in 2019, his children hoped for a quick approval and money to help with his care. He had been diagnosed with dementia four years earlier and needed around-the-clock assistance preparing meals, showering and getting dressed.

But a doctor on the NFL settlement’s review panel responded to Bemiller’s records with skepticism. Perhaps depression was actually causing his dementia symptoms, the review doctor suggested. Claim denied. Bemiller died two years later of dementia.

The NFL makes ungodly sums of money. Its franchises sell for billions of dollars. Yet the league continues to nickel and dime the players who were the heart and soul of the game. Simply shameful.

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A trifecta of stories from The Buffalo News: an urban planner (and really smart guy) pans the proposed capping of a stretch of the Kensington Expressway, an appeals court reinstates a lawsuit involving two Buffalo cops who bullied the wrong guy, and Rod Watson pens his final column. (The News continues to hemorrhage experienced journalists.)

Brian Higgins has left Congress, leaving his district without representation during a critical period. Boo! He served our community well, but quitting in mid-term to grease the skids for Tim Kennedy leaves a bit of a stain on his legacy.

I used to read a blog called Newspaper Death Watch. It’s no longer around, but the death watch continues. The news this past week: 

  • The dire straights of the news industry. (Politico)
  • The grim news about the news business. (New York Times)
  • Continuing newsroom layoffs are ominous. (The Atlantic)
  • Journalists at seven Alden newspapers stage walkouts. (New York Post)

Journalists are not the enemy of the people. But the techno-authoritarians of Silicon Valley, as The Atlantic calls them, might be. A compelling read.

What if? The Oakland A’s are looking for a place to play until their stadium is built in Las Vegas. Looking over their options, I can’t help but think Buffalo would be a good landing spot if it was only 2,000 miles west. Oh, well.

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