Don’t look now, but concussions have become the new global warming: a debate where “consensus” trumps evidence, and heroes and villains are determined by their stances on an issue where the science is bogus at worst and murky at best.

Enter NFL linebacker Chris Borland, who announced his retirement from the game after only one year, citing concerns about his health. Borland decided playing the game was no longer “worth the risk.” 

Chris Borland shouldn’t be a hero. He made a career choice. Millions do it every day, and none gets a parade.

He said he didn’t want to end up like former NFL players Dave Duerson, Ray Easterling, and Mike Webster, all of whom were diagnosed with CTE and had either committed suicide or suffered otherwise early deaths.

Chris Borland shouldn’t be a hero. He made a career choice. Millions do it every day, and none gets a parade.

Borland’s announcement was greeted by the anti-football sports media with the kind of frantic clapping one only hears in the seal enclosure at the aquarium during feeding time—a cacophony of crazy that borders on hero/idol worship.

Don’t get me wrong: the NFL is a revolving door, and Borland has the right to let that door take him in or out. I also give him credit for being one of the relatively few twenty-four-year-olds capable of comprehending issues more complex than whether their T-shirt is ironic enough.

But Chris Borland shouldn’t be a hero. He made a career choice. Millions do it every day, and none gets a parade.

However, Borland’s stiff-arm to the NFL has absolutely made him a hero to the sports media who view the NFL, as Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan said, as “almost barbaric.”

Sports Illustrated’s Mike Rosenberg made his case for the anti-pigskin crusaders:

“To understand Chris Borland’s decision to retire, look across the country, at another prominent young former NFL player: Aaron Hernandez.

“Hernandez is a year older than Borland. He, too, could be starring in the NFL next season, but he is in a Massachusetts courtroom instead, on trial for murdering his acquaintance Odin Lloyd….

“It sure looks like Hernandez will spend the rest of his life in jail.

“And when he sits there, at age 50, he may be better off than if he had stayed in the NFL.”

So, playing for the NFL is now worse than serving time in a place that coined the term shanking?

Granted, not every member of the sports media decided to beclown himself with such a decidedly hacktastic take as Rosenberg’s. Washington Post’s Cindy Boren simply decided to make scientifically challenged statements about the cases of Easterling, Duerson, and Webster, claiming that “CTE led to memory loss, aggression, confusion, depression and suicidal thoughts [my emphasis]…” among the effected players.

However, as described in my book, "Bias in the Booth," studies have shown that NFL players are less likely to commit suicide than people in the general population, and there is not conclusive evidence that CTE causes suicide in the first place. Some researchers even refute any link between CTE and contact sports at all.

Yet these facts go unreported by the sports media.

Is the Chris Borland story the beginning of the end for football? We won’t know the answer to that for years. This generation will continue spending money on the game they grew up loving. But will the next generation? Will future mothers of America allow their sons to play a game the media have told them is more dangerous than smoking? Or prison? Or smoking in prison?

What we know for sure is that, as with the climate-change debate, the media will feed us nothing but a steady diet of fear and angst. And the facts that show football isn’t killing people will be an inconvenient truth.

Dylan Gwinn is the author of "Bias in the Booth: An Insider Exposes How the Sports Media Distort the News" and a veteran sports radio talk show host.