Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Two Perspectives: Part Two

An upcoming article in Sports Illustrated talks about the culture in the NFL about fines for helmet-to-helmet hits.

NFL players were required to watch a film:
In the meeting rooms of all 32 teams last week, players saw a four-minute video produced by the league and narrated by NFL executive vice president of football operations Ray Anderson, who is in charge of discipline. The video showed nine big hits. Six were plays that involved helmet-on-helmet contact or defenders launching themselves at defenseless receivers, the kind of plays that will result in discipline from the league office. The other three—including a decleating shot across the middle by Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis on Jets tight end Dustin Keller—were examples of hits that were within the rules because players did not launch themselves or strike their targets in the head or neck.

It's probably inaccurate to say all the players heard the entire presentation. Many of them were too busy catcalling the video—and the message.

With respect to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, which has been linked to repetitive head trauma:
"I can say confidently that this is a distinctive disorder that you don't develop in the general population," McKee said. "In fact, I have never seen this disease in any person who doesn't have the kind of repetitive head trauma that football players would have."

These thoughts were not shared by all:
The Players Association was angry about what seemed to be an attempt to make the game safer. "The skirts need to be taken off in the NFL offices," said union president Kevin Mawae on ESPN Radio.

One retired player stated:
Watching in the NBC viewing room in New York City, studio analyst Rodney Harrison, known as much for his vicious hits as for his overall strong play at safety, said after one of them, "Thank God I'm retired."