Hypocrisy: The NFL

Published: Oct 24, 2013 16:37pm EDT
By JLangley4, Sports Writer for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated Oct 24, 2013 @ 04:37pm EDT

 

Over the last few seasons, the term that comes to mind when talking about the NFL is "player safety."

The amounts of rule changes and fines levied out by Commissioner Roger Goodell is enough to make any business stay afloat. The new penalties, while bothersome, do make sense when it comes to the acknowledgment that players need to be protected from themselves, and the dangerous sport in which they play.

The biggest question may be; does Roger Goodell truly care about the cash cows that make him $10 million a year? Is he enforcing heavy fines and incorporating more rules to protect the players, or to protect himself, and the owners that keep him afloat?

It is no secret how dangerous the game is. Many have played the game on some level or another throughout the country. Head injuries are dangerous. They have the ability to take a player out of the game, seemingly out of nowhere. Look at the case of former Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Ryan Swope. A talented player out of Texas A&M, there was no secret to his concussion history. The problem is, he had so many concussions that it forced him to retire before playing a down in the NFL.

On paper, it seems as though Swope took the medical advice given to him, and properly called it a career before causing further irrepairable damage to his body. Some have speculated, though, that this was a case of the NFL and a franchise covering themselves before a player had a chance to play. Either way, it is good for Swope. He has a degree he can use to benefit his life, and he won't cause further damage to his body.

The league itself is up to its eyeballs in lawsuits on the issue of concussions, and whether or not the NFL knew more than they were telling the players. Honestly, the players could be out for a quick cash grab from the league, after spoiling away the millions they made over the entirety of their career. Seeing punters and kickers in a lawsuit is almost laughable to some.

But, the league took a majoy hit in credibility when a book came out, by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru, called "The League Of Denial." The book itself is about the NFL, and studies telling them that concussions suffered from playing the game lead to long-term health risks. The NFL for years did whatever it took to cover the issue up, even going as far as to create their own operation to attempt to shoot down these studies.

The cover-up worked for many, but to some, they were still skeptical. For a league looking for a shred of credibility, this hit will do more damage than the league needs.

The player safety measures are great for the players. It helps them get back to the basics of simple form tackling, and is attempting to eliminate unecessary blows to the head. The basic premise of this is wonderful. The problem is, a question of when the NFL try to follow through with caring about player safety?

It has been noted already by many analysts, and Commissioner Goodell himself, that the league would like to expand the regular season to 18 games. Thursday Night games have been implemented for every week, on the premise of giving everyone a primetime game. The idea is already being explored about adding another Thursday night game each week in the future.

Here is the problem. The 18 game schedule is a bad idea simply because there is already an astronomical amount of injuries on a 16 game schedule. Expanding the season by two more games is asking for problems. The players are tired after a 16 game schedule, and on top of that, 12 teams have playoff games following the season. Their bodies are not meant to play that long. If you play the odds on it, the chances of injury would increase exponentially by adding two more competitive games.

The issue of Thursday night games is simple. It is a cash grab for the NFL with no intention of putting competitive football out on the field. Teams are asked to play a game on short rest, and lack of preparation. This is how injuries occur.

Think about it this way. On a normal week, players come in Monday for film study or an optional lifting session, which a lot of players take part in. Tuesday is a practice day for some, while others may wait until Wednesday, especially coming off of a Monday Night game. Practices usually go from Tuesday to Thursday, or Friday if the team has a Monday Night game. The team does their walk-through on Friday if they have to travel Saturday, or the walk-through occurs Saturday for home games.

Now, these schedules vary, depending on the team. The point is, no matter how a schedule works for a team, they will be on short rest, and have no way of being adequately prepared for a game, unless they are planning ahead which cuts into preparation for the game ahead of them.

Player safety is a legitimate concern, and rules should be made to protect them. The league must find a way to make their money, while having the best interest of all at heart. That may never happen, but it's a nice concept, much like the "player safety" campaign the league is currently on.


 

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