NFL and Players Association wage hypocritical war over player safety

By
Updated: February 20, 2013

Before this begins, I would like to thank the WCSN regulars, especially Patrick Bates, for helping me develop the ideas and arguments in this article through enriching discussion in the comments.  It is rare, but it does happen!

Talk, talk talk

Player safety.

That seems to be the key buzzword floating around the NFL these days.  Rodger Goodell and the league office .  .  They .  They , in the pursuit of it, and .

The players, meanwhile, also seem to care about their own safety quite a bit.  They , and many former NFL players are for a lack of safety protocol, ostensibly to make the game safer more than to line their own pockets.

Aaron Rodgers switched to a safer helmet in 2010, and has not had a concussion in three years. Why won't more players follow suit?

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers switched to a safer helmet in 2010, and has not had a concussion in three years. Why won’t more players follow suit?

This fan, for one, is utterly sick of it (and I know many of you at WCSN are as well).  Both sides talk back and forth, pointing fingers at each other, but neither push for any meaningful reform.  All they care about is winning the war of public opinion, and their blatant hypocrisy needs to stop.

When the NFL and players’ union were in a lockout in 2011, they debated many important issues for the future of the league, including how to fairly share revenue and prevent rookies from being vastly overpaid.  But for two parties that both care so much about player safety, they didn’t really make much progress on that front.  Sure, they and put some , but they missed the main issue.

Players like Quentin Jammer complained loudly about wearing thigh pads, but still complain the NFL isn't doing enough to promote safety.

Players like Quentin Jammer complained loudly about wearing thigh pads, but still protest the NFL isn’t doing enough to promote safety.

Too stylish to be safe

Football players have  available to them, ones that are proven to reduce concussions.  A few players, such as DeSean Jackson, Aaron Rodgers, and Greg Jennings, have switched to these (with good results), but the vast majority eschew them because they don’t .  So let me get this straight: players will sue the NFL because of concussions, but won’t change to helmets that can prevent these concussions because of the style? It is hypocrisy of the highest order, and it was repeated when players complained about being .

The NFL league office, meanwhile, is not blameless in this either.  Sure, they fine players for delivering dangerous hits, but they do nothing to force them to wear the safer equipment. I understand that needs to be bargained with the players’ union, but if the league really cared about player safety as much as they claim, that would have been a top priority in the 2011 lockout.  A league that can fine players for their or , but not for wearing unsafe helmets, is not a league that truly cares about the safety of those players.

Furthermore, the NFL is really only using player safety as an excuse to tweak rules in favor of the offense.  When one quarterback gets his knee blown out by a player lunging from the ground, .  Receivers and quarterbacks have greater protection now than they ever have, making the passing game much more prolific than at any point in NFL history, but defensive players do not get awarded this same protection.  Offensive players have far fewer restrictions on how to block than defenders do on how to hit, leading to leg injuries to defensive players who get chopped down on a regular basis.  The NFL’s new crackdown on player safety is inherently biased towards promoting big plays and lots of points, things which help drive ratings and make money for the league.

Roger Goodell wants the game to be as safe as possible, as long as the new safety rules also help offenses score more.

Roger Goodell wants the game to be as safe as possible — as long as the new safety rules help offenses score more points.

Calling bull

Both the NFL and the players’ union claim to care about player safety, but I’m not buying it.  Both sides are extremely hypocritical and only really care about one thing—money.  There is nothing wrong with this, but lying to the public to garner sympathy is just wrong.  I’m calling bullshit right here and right now. Shut up and play. Take the copious quantities of money we throw at you and be done with it.

Don’t expect us to care about your health when you prove just how little you care about it yourselves.

About the author

Jon Vander Woude enjoys writing in-depth analytical articles that examine statistical trends in the NFL offseason. He also covers the Chicago Bears beat for Water Cooler Sports. Despite growing up in Michigan, California, and Miami, he had the good fortune to be reared by a father who grew up in Chicago raised him to root for the Bears, Bulls, and Cubs. Feel free to write him at with any questions, comments, or suggestions for future columns. Connect with

353 comments
Joedirte
Joedirte

The Dolphins have something like 42 million in cap Space, They could sign Greg Jennings, Mike Wallace and sign Aqib Talib and keep all  their Free Agents. If they do all of that they will be a playoff team

robertj72
robertj72

Those WRs mean nothing without a QB to throw it to them.

UNCfan 90 3
UNCfan 90 3

  

I don't know why they want Wallace he isn't that great  

Um...
Um... moderator like.author.displayName 1 Like

My friend in Saskatchewan just told me it is -16 celsius there right now. Fuck that shit. 

Joedirte
Joedirte

  3.2 degrees......I thought that was tank top weather for you northerners

Um...
Um... moderator

  That was the high for the day not the low. Also, I live in the Pacific North West where it rarely gets below 20 Fahrenheit. My buddy said not long ago they had a day where celsius and fahrenheit were synced up. That happens at -40.

Um...
Um... moderator

    well, if it is -40 you'd definitely have to think first before peeing outside.

Joedirte
Joedirte

     I'm talking about taking a leak outside of course

Um...
Um... moderator

    I imagine it is not -40 in his bathroom. They do have plumbing and heat.

UNCfan 90 3
UNCfan 90 3

   

WELL YOU ARE SCAREING ME!!!!!!!!

Joedirte
Joedirte like.author.displayName 1 Like

   I know I wouldnt like to be in a place where if you take a piss your stream could freeze up to your cock

Um...
Um... moderator

He does not get along well with normal society. He and his wife live out there in the cold and they seem happy.

Joedirte
Joedirte like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

   Maybe he cant afford a freezer?

UNCfan 90 3
UNCfan 90 3

  How could someone live om that I would be getting the hell out of there 

Joedirte
Joedirte

   So is -40 when you people put on a windbreaker?

Um...
Um... moderator

And what I mean by that is fuck thinking of temperatures in Celsius. 

Bro Montana
Bro Montana

Gold all in ma chain. Gold all in ma rang. Gold all in my watch. Don't belee me jus watch. 

Joedirte
Joedirte

So Roddy White is campaingning for Dwight Freeney to become a Falcon.......He definately wont come here now

andylet445
andylet445

Done with work so I'm done with you bitches.  If you feel like I used you, all i can say is good, now clean yourself off and you know where the door is.

Um...
Um... moderator

 I'm stealing all of your plush ponies on the way out you freak.

Um...
Um... moderator like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Also, just so i fit in, here's a WCSN breaking gif.

Um...
Um... moderator

I could see paying that clown Goodell 30 million a year if he walked the walk instead of just talking the talk. As it is it seems like all of his talk is just to make sure he makes the big bucks and not to actually implement changes that are solely for player safety. My main support for this is that "player safety" only seems to be a term that exists for certain positions, the ones that make the league the most money.

This comment has been deleted

Maized and Confused
Maized and Confused moderator

 Those have no longer become sexy.

They have become bowling balls.

andylet445
andylet445 like.author.displayName 1 Like

It slices, it dices, it feeds a new born baby

LaCWrestler
LaCWrestler

Do you guys just have a shit load of favorited imgur pages at the ready?

andylet445
andylet445 like.author.displayName 1 Like

without imgur i wouldn't have this gem


Buhlitz
Buhlitz

 I find and save a bunch of gifs then upload them to imgur for later use

Buhlitz
Buhlitz

lol andylet you look so cute on that machine

here is me