Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks understands his job. At least, he understands that he works in a violent profession that can result in serious injury and long-term damage to his body.
In other words, he and his fellow athletes signed up for this. If they wanted to, they could walk away.
Sherman is not only a talented cornerback but also a compelling writer as he contributes to Peter King’s MMQB website. In a recent column, Sherman talked about the violence in the NFL and suggested that the league should not try to “water down” the game with certain safety measures such as fines and suspensions.
It is an interesting take on the whole “safety” issue. Sherman’s point seems to be that players who are worried about getting hurt should not play football. The same goes for other professions. If you faint at the sight of blood, the medical profession may be a poor choice. If you fear talking in front of groups, perhaps avoid being a teacher.
Granted, it isn’t like the NFL should stop trying to make the game safe. There are precautions that can be taken in order to at least minimize injuries. However, Sherman’s perspective is somewhat understandable. Given the amount of knowledge available today, players know what they are getting into in terms of potential long-term issues.
In addition, the NFL can be a bit hypocritical when it comes to pursuing player safety. If the league truly wanted safety, they would ban tackling altogether and give everyone flag belts.
Perhaps when Richard Sherman is older and dealing with the long-term impact of his chosen career, he may have a different perspective. For now, Sherman just wants to play ball his way. He wants to hit people. Hard.