Let me preface this column by stating that I am a diehard Baltimore Ravens fan and have been for 13 years. As such, I utterly despise the team from Pittsburgh. Regardless of this, I promise you that what I’m about write is totally, 100% unbiased.
Troy Polamalu is an idiot.
Of course I think he’s an idiot for numerous reasons that have no bearing on this particular article, but he’s put his foot in his mouth concerning the wrong issue. In an interview with Dan Patrick for his radio show, he openly admitted that he has lied about attaining concussions just to stay on the field and play. A macho man (OOOOOOH YEAH!) would say that this is admirable, but a wise man knows that this is a huge mistake for both Troy and the NFL.
There are currently over 3,000 lawsuits regarding concussions against the NFL as we speak. The enigmatic injury has led to the deaths of many players, and ruined the lives of many others. Football is often called a “gladiator” sport, stemming from its inherent danger and violence. This is a big part of its appeal. There comes a time, however, when societal changes warrant change. This is one of those times.
Twenty or thirty years ago, the medical advances that we so often take for granted weren’t prevalent and concussions were thought to be nothing more than headaches. Now, concussions are known to affect a person in numerous ways physically, mentally, psychologically, and emotionally. Having received a concussion myself, I know the effects first hand. So for Troy to so candidly and openly admit to lying about the issue only puts a bigger bull’s-eye on the situation. Roger Goodell seriously has work to do.
The most astounding thing about all of this is that Polamalu’s thinking is not only considered okay, it’s considered normal. It’s one thing for fans to not care about a player’s well-being unless they play for their team, but it’s another for the players themselves not to care. All of these players have families that they have to return to once they leave the gridiron, and looking at men such as Dave Duerson and Junior Seau, the true casualties of all of this are the wives, parents, and children involved.
From a talent perspective, Troy Polamalu is one of the best to ever play his postion in the sport of Football. From a personal perspective, Troy Polamalu just said one of the worst things that could ever be said for the progression of the sport. Now, the NFL is at a fork in the road. Continue to do things the way you’ve been doing them, encouraging fearlessness without recourse, or they can be progressive. If the NFL is progressive, they most assuredly will lose fans for a while. So NFL, what’s worth more to you. Dollars or lives?