'YOU'RE OKAY, IT'S JUST A BRUISE' by Robert Huizenga


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 The former internist for the NFL's Los Angeles Raiders tells it like it is in this engaging muckraker's guide to the business of pro football. For over 30 years, the Raiders have been the outlaws of their sport. Huizenga, who was with the team from 1983 to 1990, chronicles how this game devours its young. The NFL proudly boasts that football features the biggest, fastest, and toughest athletes in the world. But, according to Huizenga, many players are emotionally immature, overgrown galoots who gladly abuse themselves by ingesting performance-enhancing and painkilling drugs while ignoring the obvious consequences--a fact underscored by offensive linemen Charley Hannah's assertion, made to Huizenga and some teammates over dinner one night: ``We're making too much money, we're having too much of a good time. They're going to have to drag me off the freaking field kicking and screaming.'' Much of Huizenga's memoir revolves around his relationships with players, including stars Marcus Allen (whose unwillingness to risk serious injury landed him in team owner Al Davis's doghouse), the late Lyle Alzado (one of the game's most notorious steroid abusers), and Bo Jackson (who sustained an injury that ended his football career and now plays baseball for the California Angels). However, the most inflammatory passages are reserved for Huizenga's many clashes with Davis and his incompetent team orthopedist, Dr. Robert Rosenfeld, whose frequent dismissal of potentially crippling injuries provides the book's title. Huizenga illustrates why Davis is a pariah among the NFL's owners; his mantra, ``Just win, baby,'' embodies his crass indifference to players' physical and emotional pain. While occasionally melodramatic, Huizenga keeps his vituperation in check, often allowing Davis's appalling actions to speak for themselves. Although many of Huizenga's revelations are old news, juicy gossip about the Raiders always gets tongues wagging. Fans looking for something to pass the time between autumn Sundays could do a lot worse than read this no-punches-pulled tell- all. (First printing of 60,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-312-11353-6
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1994


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