Hornets coach Monty Williams doesn't like the NBA's concussion policy
Monty Williams rips the NBA's concussion policy with a reckless way of thinking.
On the play in the video, Anthony Davis suffered a concussion.
It doesn't look like much, does it? When you compare it with Metta World Peace cracking James Harden's head like a walnut, the two plays seem to be on opposite ends of the spectrum. And yet, Austin Rivers' elbow to the side of Davis' head caused a concussion of some measure.
Davis isn't allowed to return to action until he completes a series of tests to determine he's no longer feeling the effects of a concussion. This means he wasn't allowed to play against the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night. New Orleans Hornets coach Monty Williams fired off some pretty choice words against the policy (via ESPNChicago.com):
"When you're dealing with the brain, I guess what's happening in football has impacted everybody," Williams said before the game. "He got touched up a little bit last night. That happens a lot in basketball. It's just that now they treat everybody like they have white gloves and pink drawers and it's getting old. It's just the way the league is now."
Here's the thing about this quote: I maybe wouldn't degrade the color pink three days after Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but maybe that's just me. The first part of the quote where he talks about dealing with the brain initially made me think he was going to qualify his comments by showing an understanding for how sensitive this subject could be. He didn't do that.
He immediately says something that could be interpreted as equating treating concussions carefully as a feminine trait. Sure, you can take his words literally and make the argument against this assumption, but you're probably twisting reality in hopes of making him sound better than he comes off.
"It's a man's game," Williams said. "They're treating these guys like they're 5 years old. He desperately wanted to come, but he couldn't make it."
It's definitely a man's game. You can tell because the WNBA season is over now. I don't really get why making sure a guy's brain is OK after it slams into his skull means you're treating him like a child.
I believe Anthony Davis wanted to come out and play. I also believe that it's possible he could be putting his own well-being at risk because he wants to do what he loves: play basketball. The idea that this is a man's game and guys can be too tough for concussions reminds me of last March when LeBron James may have suffered a concussion.
He talked about going for a steal and then "the next thing I know, I was on the floor." And when he was asked if he suffered a concussion, he responded that he was too tough for that. It was a dangerous and reckless way for a role model to view the possibility of a concussion. Tom Haberstroh of the Heat Index broke down the situation perfectly, showing why they're serious and why it's not a terrible thing to look further into it for players.
With so much testosterone and machismo flowing through the sporting world, it's easy for the attitude to be adopted that you're too tough for pain or injuries, even head injuries. But it doesn't make it a responsible course of thinking.
"I'm not saying I don't like (the policy)," Williams said. "We've got to protect the players, but I think the players should have more say-so in how they feel. I'm sure I had four or five concussions when I played, and it didn't bother me. The NBA is doing what's necessary to protect the players, but this is not the NFL. You don't get hit in the head that much. I understand it. But as a coach, I'm a baby about it. I want my guys ready to play. That's basically the bottom line; I'm just a baby."
If Monty Williams had just come out and said this quote, I would feel a lot differently about how he's portrayed his position on this issue. There is validity in saying the player should possibly have more say in how they feel. I don't know if the NBA's policy for reviewing concussions is medically sound or overly sensitive. It's possible there's a better way to evaluate whether or not a player should be allowed to return.
But going about it by claiming it's a "man's game" and players might as well be wearing white gloves and pink drawers (paraphrasing, of course) is an irresponsible reaction to have. I respect that he admits he wants his players out there and he's being a baby about it. I have no problem with him being a baby about it as long as it doesn't send out the message that concussions are for wusses.
No two concussions are going to be comparable. People have different brains, different levels of impact, and different aftereffects because of this. Just because Williams possibly had four or five concussions and considers himself fine despite it has nothing to do with whether or not Anthony Davis should have been allowed to play against the Bulls.
Monty Williams is a really impressive coach. He turned a team of virtually nothing last year into a respected and annoying opponent for most teams. He has a bright future in this league on the sidelines.
But he could have used a timeout before the first half of his tirade.
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