Joe Namath was a hard-liver with a (well-earned) reputation as a drinker. But some of that was self-medication. He got banged around a lot during his career, played hurt week in and week out, and finally finished with a career of unfulfilled promise because he was just plain worn down. That’s the subtext of this quote, although it was still only January of 1969 and he didn’t know what a hard and disappointing road lay ahead of him. He was only celebrating the Jets AFL championship victory over the Raiders and looking forward to beating the Colts in the Super Bowl:
On the flight from New York to Florida, [Namath] vented about the prohibition of locker-room champagne in the AFL by the league commissioner, which had forced [him] and his teammates back into the training room. He was told to keep booze out of sight of kids watching on TV. Namath called out the league on its hypocrisy. Didn’t the commissioner see Lassiter and Davis knocking Namath loopy in the league championship? And some celebratory champagne is bad? “You know what the real image of football is, it’s brutality,” Namath said. “Why don’t they tell kids like it is? Tell the kids that this guy is trying to hurt that guy and knock him out of the football game.
---from Fun City: John Lindsay, Joe Namath, and How Sports Saved New York in the 1960s by Sean Deveny.