The NFL is in trouble. Not on the field, or in the stands, or in TV executives’ offices, but in courtrooms.
The NFL is facing an avalanche of concussion-related lawsuits from former players. These players believe that the NFL didn’t take concussions seriously during their playing days and didn’t do enough to protect them or inform them of the dangers of head trauma. In effect, these players are attacking what they see as a permissive culture in the NFL, one in which players are intentionally treated as disposable pieces of meat.
The recently released audio of former New Orleans Saints’ defensive coordinator Gregg Williams giving his players a pep talk on the eve of a playoff game will only add fuel to the growing fire nipping at the feet of NFL owners and executives.
“Kill the head and the body will die,” said Williams repeatedly on the audio released by documentary filmmaker Sean Pamphilon.
Williams had additional despicable quotes during his presentation to his team before the game with the San Francisco 49’ers, including “Make sure we kill Frank Gore’s head.” Gore is the 49’ers star running back. “We’ve got to do everything in the world to make sure we kill Frank Gore’s head.”
Williams also told his players that 49’ers receiver Michael Crabtree “becomes human when we … take out that outside ACL (anterior cruciate ligament in the knee).
He also encouraged targeting 49’ers quarterback Alex Smith’s head.
“And we’re going to kill the [expletive] head. Every single of of you, before you get off the pile, affect the head … continue to touch and effect the head.”
For now, completely disregard the total lack of sportsmanship, the total disdain for the spirit of the game, inherent in these comments. Focus on what he’s asking his players to do in this era of increasing awareness of the serious ramifications resulting from concussions and repetitive brain trauma. He’s calling on his players to intentionally traumatize fellow competitors’ brains, action that has been shown to lead to early dementia, depression, and a variety of other neurological problems that severely limit the quality of life of former NFL players.
The release of the Williams tape comes on the heels of the Saints’ Bountygate case in which Williams and Saints head coach Sean Payton condoned a “pay-for-injury” scheme that paid Saints players for inflicting injuries resulting in “cart-offs.”
NFL lawyers have to be sweating and losing sleep these days. When they do get to sleep, they’re probably hearing the words “Kill the head and the body will die” over and over in their nightmares.
The NFL culture is now on trial and things could get ugly — and expensive — for Commissioner Roger Goodell and his ownership club.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO. He discusses the use of Native American names and logos by sports teams and the decisions to drop the Chief Wahoo logo and the upcoming change to the team name. Other baseball topics include health and safety, possible MLB rule changes and youth participation in the sport.
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Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
Episode #8 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Save College Sports From Overcommercialization and Professionalization? – The guest is Dr. David Ridpath, a sports business professor and past president of the Drake Group
Episode #7 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Brain Trauma and CTE Risk in Sports With Dr. Ann McKee – Dr. McKee works in the field of neuropathology and has demonstrated that “mild” repetitive head trauma can provoke chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a devastating neurodegenerative disease.
Episode #6 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Need for Quality Physical Education in Our Schools is Greater Than Ever – The guest is Clayton Ellis, one of our nation’s leading advocates for getting our young people to be more physically active.
Episode #5 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Youth Sports with Positive Coaching Alliance Founder Jim Thompson – Thompson started Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in 1998 to help create a movement to transform the culture of youth sports from “win-at-all-costs” to a positive, character-building experience.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
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