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
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #14 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Making Sense of the Injury Pandemic in Major League Baseball – The guest is Gary McCoy, a strength, conditioning and high performance coach who has worked with several Major League Baseball organizations. Our focus is the injury pandemic in baseball, what’s causing it and how it can be fixed.
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Episode #13 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Conversation With Long-Time MLB Exec Dan Evans About What’s Right With Baseball and What Could Be Better – Evans is a former general manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers and is currently a consultant for Go the Distance Baseball, which owns the Field of Dreams movie site.
Episode #12 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Fun Chat With Dan Gutman, Author of the Baseball Card Adventure Series for Kids
Episode #11 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Latest on Brain Trauma, Concussions and CTE with Dr. Chris Nowinski – Nowinski is CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation.
Episode #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO.
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.
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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