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Hard Hits and the NFL
A penalized hit during a Ravens vs. Patriots game, Oct. 17, 2010 (AP)

A penalized hit during a Ravens vs. Patriots game, Oct. 17, 2010 (AP)

The NFL is getting the message. Last week, it laid serious fines on three professional football players for “flagrant and egregious” hits. 

That has set off a big debate about whether pro football can be football without the kind of spectacular hits that for years have been a staple of highlight reels. 

Is it football without those hits? Is it humane with them?  

We look at big, dangerous, devastating hits, and the NFL.

-Tom Ashbrook 

Guests:

Kevin Blackistone, columnist for the sports Web site FanHouse.com. He’s a frequent panelist on ESPN’s “Around the Horn” sports roundtable.

Michael Oriard, professor of English and associate dean at Oregon State University. He’s author of “Bowled Over: Big-Time College Football from the Sixties to the BCS Era,” and “Brand NFL: Making and Selling America’s Favorite Sport.” He’s also former offensive captain and second team All-American at the University of Notre Dame, and played four seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Tim Hasselbeck, football analyst for ESPN. He’s a former NFL quarterback for the New York Giants, the Washington Redskins, the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Buffalo Bills. He’s son of former NFL tight end Don Hasselbeck, and brother of Matt Hasselbeck, who is currently the starting quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks.

Ann McKee, associate professor of neurology and pathology at the Boston University School of Medicine. She’s director of BU’s Neuropathology Core, where she maintains the University’s “brain bank.”  She has testified before Congress on the NFL and brain injuries.

Joe Nash, former nose tackle for the Seattle Seahawks. He played 15 years for the team.

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