I don’t think we can overstate how big a deal concussions are in the NFL. Brain trauma suffered during violent tackles in professional football can have lasting adverse effects on a player’s live even after his career ends. You know, unlike all of those other injuries. The italics were for sarcasm, people.
So now the NFL is trumpeting out a new policy which will allow the league to suspend players for…well, that’s not exactly clear.
The NFL will announce by Wednesday that, effective this weekend, even first-time offenders face suspension for “devastating hits” and “head shots,” according to Ray Anderson, the league’s executive vice president of football operations.
“We can’t and won’t tolerate what we saw Sunday,” Anderson said Monday. “We’ve got to get the message to players that these devastating hits and head shots will be met with a very necessary higher standard of accountability. We have to dispel the notion that you get one free pass in these egregious or flagrant shots.” More from ESPN.com here, including an exchange between Matt Millen and Steve Young that will make your head hurt more than any concussion ever could.
I think we all know what a head shot is, and we can agree that we could do without those. But “devestating hits”? Lemme get this straight: the NFL is going to fine players for hitting too hard? This is a joke, right? Are you videotaping me? Is that a hidden camera? You can’t be serious.
This isn’t going to work. The NFL is the last big league left where everyone still plays hard, because its players have to play hard. These suspensions won’t be enough to change the behavior of a player that’s fighting week after week to keep his job. Think about it: If it comes to sitting out a week for mashing a dude’s skull inside out or cleaning out your locker after getting cut for pulling up on what might be a touchdown-saving tackle, which would you choose?
The biggest hit of Sunday’s action, and probably the catalyst for this whole discussion, was Patriots defensive back Brandon Meriweather doing his best Rodney Harrison impression and trying to behead Ravens “tight end” Todd Heap.
And then there was the ATL’s Dunta Robinson, who put this hit on Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson, which might have knocked both parties out of next week, and possibly longer. Also woozy: the guy operating this camera. Jesus, dude. Buy a tripod already.