WASHINGTON—Taking a brief moment to mentally prepare for any number of potentially disturbing or utterly heartbreaking stories, millions of Americans reportedly steeled themselves Wednesday before clicking on a news article about a 55-year-old former NFL player. “As soon as I saw the words ‘Ex-NFL Player’ in the headline, I just thought, ‘Well, this is going to ruin my day,’” said Rockville, MD resident Alex Thorne, echoing fans across the nation who speculated that the story would likely involve some horrific combination of bankruptcy, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, drug addiction, murder, or suicide. “Honestly, I shouldn’t even read it, but I know I will, and I also know I’ll feel absolutely awful after I do. Might as well just get it over with.” At press time, the entire U.S. populace had decided en masse to simply avoid reading a breaking story about a current college football star.

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