On November 1, 2015, the then-St. Louis Rams hosted the San Francisco 49ers for a sporting contest in the style of American Football. On the field that day for the 49ers was Reggie Bush, erstwhile National Football League running back, then aged 30, and playing for his fourth team. Its a tough business, this football, for those who ply their trade running the eponymous prolate spheroid.
In the first quarter of that fateful encounter, Mr. Bush was handed the football. As he ran towards the “sideline” in the the Dome at America’s Center, then cynically named after American financial services corporation Edward Jones, Mr. Bush was directed with light force by defending opponents.
Thus driven, Mr. Bush trotted through his teammates and towards the boundary of the Dome’s playing area, and the wall encircling the event’s participants and dividing them from those whose sole purpose is to spectate. In doing so, Mr. Bush, seemingly running in a manner common to humans, encountered a bizarre impediment: concrete. And this happened:
Though seemingly an innocuous tumble, that turned out not to be the case. No, it was not the case at all. Reggie Bush did indeed tear his lateral meniscus in the encounter, ending his season and, effectively, his career.
Hard cheese, gentlemen. Hard cheese.
Mr. Bush, seemingly beaten, did not stay down, however. No, he did not. Rather, turning what doubtless must have been great disappointment into resolution, Mr. Bush did sue the Rams, arguing that the team had permitted “a dangerous condition to exist at the Dome,” and, in a dramatic bit of flair, calling the area where he fell “a concrete ring of death.” Dramatic, yes. But Mr. Bush had certain very important facts on his side. Among them, just the week prior to his fall, this did happen:
Though the Rams defended against the accusation, making strenuous and, one may say, confusing, arguments concerning Mr. Bush’s running style, the ladies and gentlemen making up jury of Mr. Bush’s peers had none of it. They awarded him $4.95 million in compensatory damages (for items such as lost wages and pain and suffering) and, more significantly, $7.5 million in punitive damages. The latter award speaks loud and clear: the jury believed the Rams acted in a most nefarious, dangerous, reckless, reprobate manner in failing to protect our true American Gladiators, among whom belonged Reggie Bush, at least as of November 1, 2015, prior to his encounter with said “ring of death.”
The Rams, of course, have since moved to Los Angeles. Perhaps knees will be somewhat safer as a result. We can only hope.