Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White has been up to his old Twitter antics again. This time he’s taking aim at former NFL players who are suing the league. Roddy is apparently upset and feels like these former players are “killing our game” by taking legal action against the league. As with anything there are two sides to any given argument.
The contention of the former players involved in the lawsuit against the league is this: The NFL hid the dangers of concussions from them, and repeatedly refuted the connection between concussions and brain injury.
Whether or not there is any truth to that assertion remains to be seen, but do these players who agreed to allow their heads to get smashed on a weekly basis have a legitimate gripe? In the case of players who were in the league before the 1990′s, there is definitely some truth to the fact that very little attention was paid to concussions and head injuries. If you could stand with your heels together without wobbling, and tell a the trainer who the current president was, then you were clear to play. I don’t know that it was necessarily a conspiracy by the league to refute the dangers of concussions. I think it was more just a lack of understanding of how dangerous a concussion could be.
As with anything else in life, our knowledge and understanding grows. There are a lot of things that people used to do in “the old days” which are no longer considered healthy or acceptable activities. I don’t think that gives a person who used to partake in that activity the right to sue someone else. Too often people use their lack of common sense and reason as an excuse to not accept responsibility for their own actions.
That leads us to Roddy’s next tweet. A fan asked Roddy if he would ever trade his job for anything else. White’s response: “No i love playing football if i cant walk when im 50 it was well worth it.” So there you have a player who has been more than made aware of the dangers of his profession, and is accepting the possible consequences for continuing to do it. Bravo, Roddy!
Roddy White just made the most mature statement I’ve heard from him since he’s been with the Falcons. He wants to do what he loves, regardless of the adverse affects is may have for him later in life. If only American consumers could accept that kind of responsibility for their purchases.
Apparently former NFL player and coach Herm Edwards agrees with Roddy, saying: “I’ve got two knees…can’t run anymore. Got a shoulder that needs surgery…wont get it done. And I’m OK with all that.” Edwards understands the violence inherent in the game, and knew the possible risks going into it.
Where the league needs to go from here is education, and continued awareness campaigning. Teach coaches how to practice smarter. Teach players how to protect themselves. And show compassion for those players who gave their all without the knowledge and understanding that we now have when it comes to traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
Regardless of how the lawsuits by the former players pan out, and regardless of how many changes are made to the rules to protect players, two things will most likely always hold true. Players are going to get injured playing the game of football, and the game of football is going to endure.