SBD/September 27, 2012/People and Pop Culture

"South Park" Season Debut Tackles NFL Concussions Crisis In Show's Typical Style

Goodell's stance on football-related head trauma was parodied as "waiting to see"
The season debut of Comedy Central’s “South Park” last night took on the concussion issue in sports, with the broadcast beginning with the boys watching a football game on TV. During the game, a player is knocked out after returning a kickoff. Randy Marsh, Stan’s father, jumped up from the couch and said, “Did you see that hit!? Boom! That was a great hit, boys. Remember that at practice tomorrow.” NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL later appeared in the broadcast booth, and one of the announcers said, “Commissioner, a lot of hoopla about concussions this year in the NFL. How’s the league handling all that?” Goodell: “There certainly are interesting statistics coming out, Dan, and we are deeply concerned and waiting to see if there’s really any direct correlation between football and head trauma.” At this point in the game, the broadcasters noted “some of the NFL alumni are taking the field.” One former player had his pants down around his ankles as he walked onto the field, while another player was “baking an imaginary cake.”

Goodell received the South Park treatment along-
side show regular Randy Marsh 

CHANGING THE GAME: Randy later addressed the PTA council about its decision to eliminate kickoffs in the boys’ football league because of concussion concerns. Randy sarcastically said the players “should all wear bras and instead of helmets, they should wear little tinfoil hats.” After one parent asked how the bras and tinfoil hats would make the game safer, Randy said, “Oh, you’re all not getting it. While we’re at it, we’ll have a balloon instead of a ball and whoever catches the balloon tries to run while all the other players hug.” The players will “love it, a sport where safety is all that matters. How about we call it Sarcastaball?” The PTA unwittingly accepts the “proposal” and Randy becomes the coach of the town’s Sarcastaball team. After addressing Congress and helping to make Sarcastaball a nationwide sport, Goodell in a press conference said, “I am so thrilled to see our nation’s youth embrace Sarcastaball over traditional football. Oh, but why stop there. Since football is so barbaric we should change too. So let’s give a big welcome to the new coach of the Denver Broncos, Randy Marsh.” The NFL then changed its name to the “National Sarcastaball League.”

DAMAGE DONE: Randy appeared on CBS Sports Network’s “Rome” to talk about the league, and host JIM ROME said, “First off, thanks for taking a sport that we all love and turning into a sarcastic nightmare. Way to go!” Marsh: “Thanks Jim, because it’s totally what I intended. When I came up with the idea I was sure it was going to end up like this.” Sharon Marsh, Randy’s wife, finally confronted Randy about his sarcasm and said, “Are you unable to stop being sarcastic? … I think this sport is doing something to your brain.” After a brain scan, the doctor told Randy there was “permanent damage” and he was unaware of how to repair it because “there just isn’t enough research on how sarcasm affects the brain” (“South Park,” Comedy Central, 9/26).
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