The ex-wife of Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Justin Strzelczyk ripped comments made by New York Jets rookie safety Jamal Adams about CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) and player safety.
Adams was asked about player safety during a forum with Jets fans on Monday and said, "Literally, if I had the perfect place to die, I'd die on the field."
Jets cornerback Morris Claiborne echoed those thoughts saying, "But I would die out there on that football field. This is my life. This is what I do. I give it all. I would die out there.”
“I don’t even know what to say. This guy (Adams) doesn’t know what’s coming down the pipeline. He has no idea what dealing with someone who has CTE is like,” says Keana McMahon, who divorced Strzelczyk nine months before he was killed in 2004 after a collision with a tanker truck after leading New York state troopers on a nearly 40-mile highway chase.
McMahon told the New York Daily News that Strzelczyk suffered from mood swings and erratic behavior and that her two children were scared of her husband's behavior when they were younger.
"I bet my kids would want their father here. I know in my heart of hearts that Justin would have wanted to see his daughter get married someday or see his son graduate from college, not dying on a football field. To me (Adams) is sh---ing on Justin’s grave,” says McMahon.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was sitting next to Adams at the fan forum.
"I think what he was really making the point of is how much he loved the game and how passionate he is about the game," Goodell said. "It's just something that means a great deal to him. I get the emotion of that."
Thomas Demetrio, a lawyer who represents the family of former NFL player Dave Duerson, said Adams' comments made a “terrible statement” and sent the wrong message to kids.
Duerson died in 2011 of a self-inflicted gunshot and after his death was diagnosed with CTE.
"Unfortunately these players don’t die on the playing field in a sudden-death fashion,” Demetrio said. “They die a horrible death later in life, and leading up to in many cases, suicide. This is not a badge of honor for the gladiator who played 13 years in the NFL or two weeks. It’s a real problem. The macho, tough-guy mentality has to change. I would commend to this rookie (Adams), that he go see the movie, ‘Concussion.’”