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Listeners Weigh In On NFL, Fancy Gifts For Kids


And now, it's time for BackTalk. That's where we lift the curtain on what's happening in the TELL ME MORE blogosphere. Here with me once again is Ammad Omar, editor here at TELL ME MORE.

Ammad, what do you have for us today?

AMMAD OMAR, BYLINE: Well, Michel, earlier this week, we had a conversation about concussions in the NFL, the National Football League. A few former players are suing the league. They say the league knew about the dangers of concussions for years, but hid that information from players. So we asked our guests about it, and some of our panelists said the players should take some personal responsibility for their own safety.

Here's Michelle Bernard, who joined you on our Beauty Shop segment on Wednesday.


MICHELLE BERNARD: I don't think you have a right to say, I'm going to voluntarily and knowingly engage in a sport where I know someone could bang my head and I could get a concussion and maybe even die and then go back and try to sue the NFL.

OMAR: Another one of our guests said the players should sit out if they aren't feeling well. But John Myer(ph) of Leetsdale, Pennsylvania wrote in and he had this to say: After a concussion, you're in no shape whatsoever to figure out what planet you're on, let alone decide whether or not you can go back into the game. Myers then says the coaches and owners are to blame for a lot of the concussion problems in the league, and he says, quote, "I think the owners could take a little responsibility themselves. The players who are suing played under a regime where concussions were the NFL's little secret. There was a long period of time when throwing your quarterback in the game after getting his bell rung just made good coaching sense."

MARTIN: Well, thanks to John and everybody else for writing in. That's certainly a topic we're going to keep watching.

But I've been wondering whether the fans have a role to play in this discussion. And if so, what? And if you've got any thoughts on that, please leave us a comment on our website at npr.org/tellmemore.

Ammad, what else?

OMAR: Well, another topic that got quite a few responses was a parenting conversation on brand names that we had on Tuesday.

MARTIN: Right. And if you missed that, there was some debate over whether or when you should buy your kids brand name clothes. Of course, what got us started was that ruckus over the new Air Jordans. Those sneakers came out right before Christmas.

We had a bit of a split decision on our panel. One of our moms was pretty adamantly against buying brand names. The others generally came out in favor of sometimes. So, Ammad, what did other people have to say?

OMAR: You know, the listeners were kind of split along similar lines there, but here's kind of a different take from Rose Ellen Cammoner(ph) from Queens in New York. Here's what she had to say.

ROSE ELLEN CAMMONER: Children who care about what they wear are expressing their inner selves, their artist, authentic, creative selves. To dis them for it and tell them that they are being shallow and all that is petty and stifling to their emotional development.

MARTIN: Well, thank you for that, Rose Ellen. Not for nothing, Rose Ellen is from a fashion town - New York, right?

OMAR: That's right.

MARTIN: Anything else, Ammad?

OMAR: I think we've got time for one more. You spoke yesterday with the legendary "Afropop Worldwide" host Georges Collinet. Chris Masseo(ph) from New Windsor, New York wrote in. He said, quote, "It was great to hear Georges Collinet. Doesn't he have the greatest radio voice?" And he does, Chris, and I think this might be his little secret.


GEORGES COLLINET: Never forget to put a smile on your face when you speak. And you know what? It works. It's amazing.

OMAR: Chris goes on to say: I learn so much every time I catch that show, but I especially love the way he finds and promotes African music from all over the continent.

MARTIN: He certainly does. And we decided to leave you today with one of Ammad's favorite Afropop hits. This one is called "Boomerang" from Daara J from Senegal. And remember, with TELL ME MORE, the conversation never ends. To tell us more, you can call our comment line at 202-842-3522, or visit us online at npr.org/tellmemore. Please remember to leave us your name. You can also find us on Twitter. Just look for TELL ME MORE NPR. And put a smile in your voice. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.