The result of Thursday night’s game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Miami Dolphins came second to the status of Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. During the second quarter of the 27-15 Bengals victory, Tagovailoa dropped back and got sacked, which led to him immediately showing symptoms of a concussion. He was put onto a stretcher and taken to a local medical facility, where he was diagnosed with head and neck injuries before getting released and returning to Miami with his teammates.
The incident came on the heels of Tagovailoa getting pushed to the ground against the Buffalo Bills the prior Sunday, and after getting up and walking several steps, his legs gave out and nearly collapsed. He was taken to the back, and after it was announced that he cleared concussion protocol, reports indicated he suffered back injury.
The whole thing is scary, and in the eyes of ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, there need to be consequences for how all of this went down. Smith went onto Friday’s edition of First Take and indicated that, in his eyes, the bare minimum is that someone is suspended.
“Somebody needs to be fired,” Smith said. “Now, I don’t know who, but somebody got to go. At the very least, a suspension. Now, I don’t know if it was the doctors and the trainers that examined him at halftime of the Buffalo game, put him back in. I don’t know if it’s additional medical personnel that were involved that gave the OK for him to be on the field last night.”
Smith then went into some of the science behind what happens when a person suffers multiple concussions in the span of a few days, before saying that he has major doubts that Tagovailoa suffered a back injury against Buffalo because “I didn’t see him hold his back, I didn’t see him put his arm to his back, not one time Sunday.”
“I saw him get up, I saw that gross mobile instability, he got up, and he damn near collapsed right back down,” Smith said. “I’m looking at Mike McDaniel, the coach, I’m wondering what the hell are you thinking. Now, some people would say, ‘Hey, you’re the coach, if the medical staff gives you the OK to play a player, then you go ahead and you play the player. But you’re a human being, you’ve got two eyes, you know what you saw out there.”
Smith also called on the NFLPA and the NFL to continue their respective investigations, while he also believes a level of accountability among Tagovailoa’s teammates, who he argues should have stepped in to prevent him from continuing to play.
“No one is safe here, somebody needs to be suspended at the minimum, possibly fired,” Smith said. “And everybody as an organization within the Miami Dolphins, as far as I’m concerned, got their hands dirty in all of this, because you allowed this dude to get out on that field after you saw what happened this past Sunday.”