By Terry Foster
@TerryFoster971

Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy made the most important tackles of his career during an email to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press earlier this week.

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He tackled the silly statement by Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsey who compared CTE to taking aspirin. He stopped Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones who said there is no evidence that CTE is linked to the pain and suffering of current and former NFL players although a league doctor said there is.

And Levy made a goal line stand against the NFL that challenged a New York Times story that compared the NFL’s stance on CTE to the tobacco industry years ago that said smoking was good for you.

Levy spoke up and spoke out and did not whine about it even though some in the public are accusing him of whining. In a nutshell Levy wants more transparency from the NFL and would not mind if the league stopped lying to the public. The only thing he asked is that players have all the information when deciding to wreck their bodies in this game.

There is evidence already out there that playing in the NFL is a hazard to your health. Former NFL players die young and get short term memory loss earlier in life than the general public.
Levy missed last season with an injury and had time to think.

“This year, I had a lot of hours in the training room and realized how normal injury is to us, as football players,” Levy wrote. “I think about how numb to the fact that CTE could be present in me. Like maybe my head buzzing a day after a game isn’t normal. Maybe the emotional highs and lows of a football game/season and beyond aren’t normal. Maybe when I forget something, there’s more to it than just forgetfulness.”

We need to listen to Levy. His words are powerful and impactful. They could move people to action.

Many are moved to action. But there are others, mostly fans, that want to protect the shield. They do not care about the health of players. All they care about are Sunday afternoons so they can overpay for tickets and root on their favorite football team.

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They love the action of the NFL. I do too. But I think about what players go through. However, Levy isn’t even asking for the league to change. He wants information. He wants the league to admit what is obvious.

The NFL is about cover ups. Do you remember how the league was going to let Ray Rice slide until we saw the video of the former Baltimore Ravens running back knocking the snot out of his woman?

And how many of you shouted she must have done something to provoke the attack?

“I’m not asking for this game to be any less dangerous nor risky,” Levy wrote. “I’m asking for there to be transparency about those risks and allow people to make their own, informed decisions. As I’ve stated before, I’m choosing to continue to play in spite of CTE or any other post-football health issues that may arise. But that choice doesn’t justify continued denial and deflection on this issue when we now know better and have the opportunity to do better.”

So why is Levy complaining? He is not.

I bet he’d never write this email if Irsey, Jones and the NFL did not open their traps. Levy knows the pain and suffering he feels. He knows what other players go through. Their side of the story was attacked by management. He simply stepped up and defended himself and defended his brothers.

One of my biggest complaints in sports is we’ve created a system where athletes do not speak up. They are afraid to because of the heat from the public and media. So we are left with players that speak in sound bites and say nothing. Levy is receiving criticism but he does not deserve your scorn. He deserves a presidential medal for speaking up.

I view Levy in a different light now. I believed he was just a great football player. He is also a great man.

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(Foster can be reached at Terry.Foster@cbsradio.com)