By Ken Reed

Robert Griffin III was a brave, courageous athlete last Sunday. Mike Shanahan was just another win-at-all-costs (WAAC) coach, more concerned about his legacy (a desperate quest to end up in the Hall of Fame) than the future of a bright young star. Basically, Shanahan’s ego led him to go all WAACY when he decided to leave RG III in the playoff game much longer than virtually everyone watching the game thought was appropriate.

It wasn’t surprising, given Shanahan’s history of being much more concerned with wins than his player’s health while in Denver as head coach of the Broncos. He also works for a profit-at-all-costs (PAAC) owner in Dan Snyder. When you mix a WAAC mindset with a PAAC mindset you get ugly results, which is what we got in the Washington – Seattle playoff game.

RG III wanted to play in his first NFL playoff game. He thought he could help his team win. That’s understandable. What’s not understandable is why the NFL doesn’t do more to protect its players. We’ll learn more about that as the giant concussion lawsuit brought by former NFL players against the league draws nearer.

After NFL owners and executives started receiving heat for their handling of concussions, they decided to put in a more player-friendly system for dealing with concussion-like symptoms on the playing field. Griffin, and his NFL peers, need a similar system for dealing with all football-related injuries. Decisions like this can’t be left to the coach and/or the player — or even to team doctors, who tend to favor the interests of the owner and coach they work for.

“An independent voice is necessary,” wrote Troy Renck in an analysis in the Denver Post. “Griffin was never going to remove himself from the game … In a league that is built around violence, the players need more than helmets and pads for armor. The league must protect the players from themselves.”

And their coaches.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


Comments are closed.

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.