Blog Entry

Monday Musings: Concussion lawsuits overboard

Posted on: December 26, 2011 10:54 am
 

The flurry of lawsuits being filed by former NFL players is strange. I know some players will have problems with post-career medical issues, but here's a question that I have to ask: Didn't they know what they signed up for when they signed that contract? The NFL is a violent game. Period.

Nobody forces players to play. They get compensated to do a job.

Getting hit hard is part of the game. Injuries are part of the game. Concussions are part of the game.

Has the NFL always acted in the players' best interests when it came to injuries? They probably didn't. But how much is on the player himself -- pushing to stay on the field, fearful of losing a job or a check.

I think the NFL's decision to make the game safer now is the right thing to do. Why not be more cautious? But I also don't think that it gives the former players a right to file lawsuits.

For starters: How do we know the concussion issues didn't start in Pop Warner or on the high-school level or at college. Is every former Pop Warner player going to sue his former association? Can I file suit against my high school or my former coach?

The lawsuits allege the league didn't do enough to protect the players from concussions.  These lawsuits will be played out for the next couple of years as players try to prove that they NFL did them wrong.

What's next? Will we see firemen suing their company for being burned in a fire? Or a writer filing suit against his employer because his eyes go bad from being on a computer all day?

It's part of the job. You are compensated to do a job.

Nobody forces NFL players to play. I ask this question: Would any of the players who are parts of those suits trade it all back to not have played the game?

Bet they'd all say no.

I'm all for player safety. And I love the way the NFL has changed the rules to make that possible.

But these lawsuits are over-the-top in my eyes.

Here's what the NFL should do moving forward: Make players sign liability waivers. If you don't sign, you don't play.

Want to bet every player signs?

The rewards are worth the risks. That's why they put their bodies on the line each and every Sunday.

It’s a nasty game. It's a violent game. It's a dangerous game.

But it's also a game you play voluntarily.

---The past two weeks are why Denver Broncos president John Elway won't commit to Tim Tebow long term as his starter. Why would he? Elway knows that the NFL is a passing league now more than ever. Tebow can't pass.

Not in the way you need quarterbacks to pass. That was exposed in a big way against the Bills this week. He threw four interceptions, two were returned for touchdowns, and he looked downright horrible. Tebow can complete the 15-yard slant off the option fake, but when it comes to putting his foot in the ground, reading the field, making the right, accurate throw, he struggles with that.

Tebow holds the ball and he doesn't appear to have a grasp on reading coverages. What the Broncos have done with him this season is just short of a miracle. If they win Sunday against the Chiefs, they will be in the playoffs. Tebow Nation will rejoice. 

But the reality is that it's nothing more than an aberration season, like Kerry Collins going 13-3 for the Titans or David Garrard going 11-5 for the Jaguars. These happen once in a while. But the success isn’t sustainable. Elway knows this. That's why he said Tebow would be back last week, but never said he would be his starter. How could he make the commitment now, especially after seeing Tebow floundering against the Bills Sunday?

This isn't piling on a kid after a bad game, either. It's how I've felt all along since watching his college tapes. Others thought the same, but gave in during his six-game winning streak, but I see too many flaws in his passing to do that. 

---That Tom Coiughlin-Rex Ryan handshake sure was a quick one. I've known Coughlin for a long time, and the one thing he hates is people who talk a lot. Ryan talked a lot leading up to the Giants-Jets game Saturday. Ryan talks the talk, but his teams don't back him up. 

---Why did the Jets throw 59 passes against the Giants? Aren't they the ground-and-pound team? Mark Sanchez isn't good enough to win throwing 59 passes. 

That's why I think Brian Schottenheimer is an overrated coordinator. There is some talk that he could be in trouble.

---Want an underrated coordinator? Look at Carolina's Rob Chudzinski. He has worked wonders with the Carolina offense.  He needs to be a head coach. His work with Cam Newton and the Panthers offense has been impressive.

---The blowout at Detroit will surely cost Norv Turner his job. But I don’t believe the talk of Bill Cowher going there. I think he stays in television.

----Rumor of the week: Jeff Fisher to the Rams if Steve Spagnuolo gets it. I also think Fisher will be in play in San Diego and Jacksonville. 

---Can the Bucs justify keeping Raheem Morris as coach? That's nearly impossible, especially after a season with high expectations and a fleeing fan base. The Bucs have lost nine consecutive games and have done so without competing in a lot of them.

---The first pick in the NFL Draft will go to either the Colts or Rams. Since the Rams have Sam Bradford, they wouldn't take Andrew Luck. But they could be in a position to deal down and add a ton of picks. The Browns, who have two first-round picks, would be wise to keep the Rams on speed dial if that Rams do end up wit the top pick.

---It's always sad to see a star running back tear up a knee. We never know if they will be the same again. That's what I thought as I saw Adrian Peterson's injury as it happened Saturday. It also backs why backs need to cash in when they can and also why teams have to be hesitant to do so. 

---San Francisco's David Akers set an NFL record with his 42nd field goal of the season. Is that a good thing? That means the 49ers are limited offensively. That could be their undoing in the playoffs.

---The Texans miss Wade Phillips. You can see it in the way they played the past two weeks without him on the sideline. Reggie Herring isn't in the same class with Phillips when it comes to calling defenses. The Texans need him back on the sidelines.

---Kudos to the Packers re-built offensive line Sunday night against the Bears. Without both starting tackles, Chad Clifton and Bryan Bulaga, they held the Bears without a sack. Left guard T.J. Lang moved to right tackle and did a great job on Israel Idonije. Bulaga is expected back for the playoffs, but Clifton is having some back issues and his return is questionable.

Comments

Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: December 28, 2011 9:23 am
 

Monday Musings: Concussion lawsuits overboard

"If Carolina's OC goes, then I wonder if we see the Bradford syndrome kick in.  Bradford did great his 1st year, but stank it up this year, proving he is a system QB.  Newton might be similar?  Dunno though.  Rams should trade Bradford & unload his big contract while they can.  Why should the Browns want Luck & not the Rams?  Same weak college conference, Bradford is more injury prone.. he barely made any throws his junior year & some how the reporters hyped him enough that Spags dumbass drafts him #1 overall.  Cannot wait till they are both out of St. Louis."  --Dabiggchill

You're very much wrong about Sam Bradford. What you saw wasn't incompetence on his part, rather it was the result of opposing coaches having a long and idle off-season to game-plan around a guy for whom they know had lots of relevant film in the can. Not too terribly difficult, given that he was a still-inexperienced QB, operating without a go-to receiver, usually from a hole dug by an inadequate defense. Other than Brady and Peyton, I'm not sure that any guy now in the league could've triumphed in the face of that adversity. Nor could even they have done so in their second year.




Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: December 28, 2011 9:22 am
 

Monday Musings: Concussion lawsuits overboard

"If Carolina's OC goes, then I wonder if we see the Bradford syndrome kick in.  Bradford did great his 1st year, but stank it up this year, proving he is a system QB.  Newton might be similar?  Dunno though.  Rams should trade Bradford & unload his big contract while they can.  Why should the Browns want Luck & not the Rams?  Same weak college conference, Bradford is more injury prone.. he barely made any throws his junior year & some how the reporters hyped him enough that Spags dumbass drafts him #1 overall.  Cannot wait till they are both out of St. Louis."  --Dabiggchill

You're very much wrong about Sam Bradford. What you saw wasn't incompetence on his part, rather it was the result of opposing coaches having a long and idle off-season to game-plan around a guy for whom they know had lots of relevant film in the can. Not too terribly difficult, given that he was a still-inexperienced QB, operating without a go-to receiver, usually from a hole dug by an inadequate defense. Other than Brady and Peyton, I'm not sure that any guy now in the league could've triumphed in the face of that adversity. Nor could even they have done so in their second year.



Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: December 28, 2011 9:10 am
 

Monday Musings: Concussion lawsuits overboard

"It will be interesting to see what evidence the NFL did, or is accused of, hiding, because I could have told you 35 years ago that multiple concussions were a bad idea, so how is it that no one playing football seemed to think so?"  --frappe7601

It isn't about what you or I or any other REASONABLE man or woman would do, but about what a carefully impannelled jury will do. Wm. Shakespeare referred to "coffin nails" half-a-millenium ago, but that didn't save the tobacco companies from the outrageous jury verdicts that compelled them to settle with the Attorneys General of the plaintiff States to the tune of $100's-of-billions.
 




Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: December 28, 2011 9:05 am
 

Monday Musings: Concussion lawsuits overboard

"The first pick in the NFL Draft will go to either the Colts or Rams. Since the Rams have Sam Bradford, they wouldn't take Andrew Luck. But they could be in a position to deal down and add a ton of picks. The Browns, who have two first-round picks, would be wise to keep the Rams on speed dial if that Rams do end up wit the top pick."  --Prisco

That could yield for the Rams, say the 5th, 24th, 38th, and 142nd picks in this draft, straight up for the 1st. Given the quality in this draft, it's no wonder that rumors that certain coaching dinosaurs have been heard bestirring themselves. Talk about an opportunity to make another mark on the world! A franchise QB in the house; nothing like the empty cupboards with which the Lions, for instance, were faced three seasons ago; plus four of the top thirty-eight picks in what is regarded as one of the best draft classes in many a year. Lick them chops, Messrs. Gruden, et al. Too, too bad that you'll all likely be bogarted by Art Spanos, when he cans Norv Turner, who'll move straight to the head of the line (except in the unlikely event that Bill Cowher comes out of hibernation.)



Since: Feb 14, 2008
Posted on: December 26, 2011 7:19 pm
 

Monday Musings: Concussion lawsuits overboard

We as a society ask people to do dangerous jobs all the time. Some of those jobs have to be done or society would crumble, and if the people doing those jobs are harmed while doing them, then they deserve to be compensated for that. The same holds true for people who entertain us, like football players. The league benefits financially from having people willing to potentially injure themselves and take years off their lives. When those people are injured in the line of working, they deserve compensation for doing it. The argument should only be over how much compensation is fair.

In general, people that do dangerous jobs, either voluntarily (football) or because the job is important (like a firefighter), do get compensated for the danger. The argument isn't just over what compensation is fair, it is also over whether they have already been compensated.


Second, firefighters don't voluntarily do dangerous things that are unnecessary. Some of the issues with concussions could have been avoided if the players had behaved differently themselves. No one can possibly think that banging your head until you get a concussion repeatedly is going to be good for you. It will be interesting to see what evidence the NFL did, or is accused of, hiding, because I could have told you 35 years ago that multiple concussions were a bad idea, so how is it that no one playing football seemed to think so?   
  



Since: Sep 21, 2010
Posted on: December 26, 2011 6:45 pm
 

Monday Musings: Concussion lawsuits overboard

@mijunk2:  you seem to be smoking some junk there, buddy.  There, did I simplify it enough for you?

It's obvious Prisco feels the lawsuits are unwarranted considering players play knowing and accepting the risks. I agree.  You have a right to disagree all you want, but don't sit there implying he's "equating the job of a firefighter" to his.  Where did he state that? Nevertheless, it's not my place to defend Prisco...I'm just proving you're obviously in la-la land with your assumptions. Perhaps you're a lawyer who believes all lawsuits are warranted. But I'd bet you're not. I'd bet you're a blue collar laborer bareley getting by waiting for that next car accident to happen on your way to work so you could sue your boss for making you drive to work. Yea, good luck with that one!



Since: Dec 29, 2009
Posted on: December 26, 2011 6:34 pm
 

Monday Musings: Concussion lawsuits overboard

If Carolina's OC goes, then I wonder if we see the Bradford syndrome kick in.  Bradford did great his 1st year, but stank it up this year, proving he is a system QB.  Newton might be similar?  Dunno though.  Rams should trade Bradford & unload his big contract while they can.  Why should the Browns want Luck & not the Rams?  Same weak college conference, Bradford is more injury prone.. he barely made any throws his junior year & some how the reporters hyped him enough that Spags dumbass drafts him #1 overall.  Cannot wait till they are both out of St. Louis.



Since: Jul 2, 2009
Posted on: December 26, 2011 6:08 pm
 

Monday Musings: Concussion lawsuits overboard

I don't think the focus of the lawsuit is going to be "that the NFL didn't do enough to protect their player", aftr all helmets and pads were issued to every player and the facemask has been modified.  What the NFL did was to hide all of the data related to concussions that had been chronicled through the years of studying the effects of hundreds of collisions/concussions  on the players.  Ater players careers were over the NFL knew of the problems that these players were going to face and just did nothing, low balled them on the medical care they would need after playing.

I think the Dave Duerson incident shows the lack of concern by the NFL, but D.D being intelligent playerfrom Notre Dame  with a Championship ring knew something was really wrong, so after he killed himself because he was unable to deal with the effects of suffering numerous concussions, he asked that his BRAIN be given to the MAYO clinic for the study of the effects of numerous concussions suffered from playing Pro Football.  Then there is Earl Campbell needing a walker to get around, there are so many stories of atheletes who played the game at the highest level, but after they retired no one (The NFL)  gave a @&*t about them or their medical condition.  Much more money and attention should be paid to these great player who gave their all for the game we love to watch.  So to minimize the issue by saying they knew the risk involved with playing this game is somewhat skewed.    &nbs
p;    



Since: Mar 23, 2009
Posted on: December 26, 2011 5:29 pm
 

Monday Musings: Concussion lawsuits overboard

"As much as I hate to agree with Prisco, this article does have substance"


He's equating the job of a fire fighter with someone who's paid to entertain him while he rests his fat *ss on the couch.  There's not much substance to that.


"Anyone that doesn't think getting hit in the head repeatedly will cause long term damage to your brain, well...perhaps that individual has been hit in the head way too many times"


So high school football is essentially child abuse right?  After all it's causing long term brain damage.  Maybe Prisco has simplified the argument to the point where it's no longer valid.  And maybe you are also...


     

     



Since: Mar 17, 2007
Posted on: December 26, 2011 5:13 pm
 

Monday Musings: Concussion lawsuits overboard

Prisco asks " Didn't they know what they signed up for when they signed that contract?"

Given the advances in medical knowledge about brain injuries over the last twenty years, probably not. The real question that needs to be answered--and in a fair process will be answered--is how much the NFL knew about the seriousness of brain injuries and when they knew it and whether or not they acted quickly once they did. It's clear that the NFL is worried now, and it seems likely to me that part of the reason they're instituting these new procedures is that they know 1) they're taking a big PR hit that could theoretically threaten the game as a whole and 2) they're trying to make themselves look like they're being proactive so as to limit future liability. Both things are good in the overall argument, by the way, no matter the reasoning behind them.

The real problem with this column is that Prisco seems to suggest that employees don't have the right to complain about being injured by hazardous working conditions--or ask for compensation for those injuries--when they go into the jobs knowing injury is a possibility. That's ridiculous. We as a society ask people to do dangerous jobs all the time. Some of those jobs have to be done or society would crumble, and if the people doing those jobs are harmed while doing them, then they deserve to be compensated for that. The same holds true for people who entertain us, like football players. The league benefits financially from having people willing to potentially injure themselves and take years off their lives. When those people are injured in the line of working, they deserve compensation for doing it. The argument should only be over how much compensation is fair.


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