This is a guest post from Sam Monaghan, he can be found @mono85. This offseason has seen the explosion of “Bounty-Gate” as the NFL investigates and clamps down on pay-for-injury incentives. Of greatest concern has been the frightening link between concussions and premature death/serious brain injury. To be clear: a concussion is a head injury with a temporary loss of brain function, caused by a sudden hit to the head which shakes the brain inside the skull. The NFL’s recent concern stems from lawsuits filed by former players suggesting the NFL concealed information linking football related head injuries to permanent neurological problems. These lawsuits have recently been consolidated but could cause substantial issues for the NFL. It wasn’t until 2007 that the NFL introduced significant guidelines to prevent players returning to the field of play once they have been diagnosed with concussion. Since then the NFL has been cracking down on helmet-to-helmet hits like Clevelands QB McCoy & Pittsburgh LB Harrison from 2011. Bounty-Gate has exposed a side of the NFL that no one is surprised exists but the NFL can’t publicly be seen supporting. The Saints have been hit with some of the most ferocious penalties levied against a single team in NFL history. While unlikely to have any legal ramifications (assault or battery charges) the timing favors the lawsuit filed by the ex-players. Coaches have a duty not to encourage or incite intentional injury to an athlete or recklessly increase the risks of the sport.
The NFL is working hard on cleaning up its image, but more importantly it’s protecting our favourite players from potential harm. Their actions raise the question: Are these the right actions for the NFL to be taking ? It will cause the Saints some grief over the next few seasons; losing their head coach, assistant coach, and 2nd round draft picks for years to come. But one year of pain for one NFL franchise is worth the safety and long term security it will bring the game. The NFL looks set to challenge any appeals against suspension’s ensuring players are punished for any reckless aggressive on field behaviour. While these initial penalties are harsh the NFL has done the right thing by ensuring the safety of players is paramount. This will bring young families back to the games and prolong the careers of so many of our favourite players. Let us know, do you think the NFL has done the right thing? Were the penalties served too severe ? Have your say - let us know below!
Their actions raise the question: Are these the right actions for the NFL to be taking?
This was a guest article from Sam Monaghan @mon085. He also has a terrific NBA blog which can be found here. Any and all are welcome to share their thoughts on the NFL with us. If you'd like to have your views published on sight please contact us.