Examining Career Gaps in NFL Players' Careers
After studying other issues in the lives and careers of NFL players, the following questions are posed to add to a complete and exhaustive analysis of some of the senior players between 1964-1971.
Upon discovery of the reality of the issues during an earlier era in American history, questions are posed:
1. If only two of 960 professional football players were drafted into military service in 1966, what was the situation prior to 1966?
2. Is it not meritorious that a man (who was drafted in 1964-65) willingly responded and served his country? Can this be perceived as a higher form of community service, since research indicates that many (during that era) were draft dodgers?
3. Has any study been conducted to attempt to understand the sociocultural and national reality of young men in the '60s who may not have had access to certain networks and types of favoritism, but rather had favorable responses to the mandatory military draft, and furthermore, earned honorable discharges for their service to the United States during the Vietnam conflict and the Cold War?
4. If in 1966 only two of 960 professional football players were drafted for military service, then can one speculate how many were drafted in 1964-65? Is it possible that Warren Wells, for example, was a part of a small group of professional football players who were drafted in 1964-65?
5. Is it possible that systemic and structural barriers existed and impinged on the lives of young men during earlier years in American history?
6. What was the demographic makeup of the two professional football players drafted in 1966?
These questions (and others) provide a framework for future research, and a series of articles to answer them are forthcoming.
Researchers realize that history does repeat itself and that it spirals upward in complexity.
A question to consider: Will any military obligations cause career gaps in NFL players in future generations?
What do you think?
Source: Citizen Airmen by Gerald T. Cantwell