78 Minutes

Here’s my new Grantland piece about Muamba. I wrote most of this on Tuesday, and since then, a sort of Muamba backlash has emerged, made up of people who think we’re talking too much about Muamba, or feeling too much about Muamba, or talking and feeling about Muamba in the wrong ways. This was probably inevitable; columnists need grist, and someone will be annoyed by any consensus, even when it’s confined to basic human empathy. Suffice it to say that the main points of the backlash so far — “this isn’t about your feelings” / “unseemly public grief” / “Princess Di & Michael Jackson” / “quit congratulating football for doing what it was supposed to do” — all seem very much worth ignoring to me.

Millions of people just watched a likable young person nearly die and then somehow survive after his heart had stopped beating on its own for 78 minutes. It’s okay to have a feeling about that, regardless of what angry cultural commentators say. It’s even okay to be a little bit inspired by a glimpse of the universe breaking in favor of someone who deserved it.

Anyway, my piece is here.

— Brian