There were more reported concussions this NFL season than any year since the league started releasing its aggregate numbers. American football remains a brutal endeavor. This much is clear in watching “Concussion Protocol,” a new short film from Josh Begley and the team at Field of Vision that forces us to re-examine the hundreds of collisions that yielded these traumatic brain injuries. “Too many of us are OK with this violence,” writes Shaun King, “because we don’t know these men.” One of those men, 10-year NFL veteran Donté Stallworth, told Jeremy Scahill in an Intercepted podcast special on the film, “My stomach was curling the whole time I was watching it.” The spectators’ distance from the game’s effects on the players might be difficult to close, but Begley’s film gives us a harrowing instrument for beginning to do so.
Violence of a different sort came knocking on the door of Wilmer Catalan-Ramirez, a Guatemalan immigrant in Chicago who was violently arrested by ICE in March. Chicago is supposed to be a “sanctuary city” — a jurisdiction that does not cooperate with federal immigration enforcement — but Catalan-Ramirez’s case, as Maryam Saleh reports, revealed a potential limit to this respite. What happens when a city carves out exceptions from sanctuary for, say, alleged gang members — even as the means of identifying gang members is opaque and unaccountable? For Catalan-Ramirez and his family, searching for the answers entailed nearly a year of gut-wrenching separation: a father in prison and his family fighting for his release.
In this special bonus episode of Intercepted, Josh Begley, The Intercept’s Shaun King and Donte Stallworth, a 10-year veteran of the NFL, discuss brain injuries, the #TakeAKnee protests, and Trump’s attacks on athletes.