By Ken Reed
The New England Patriots’ man-child of a tight end, Rob Gronkowski, delivered one of the cheapest of cheap shots this past Sunday in a game against the Buffalo Bills.
His penalty? A one-game suspension. What a joke!
With New England leading 23-3 late in the fourth quarter, Bills rookie cornerback Tre’Davious White intercepted a pass intended for Gronkowski. The play ends with White lying out of bounds, face down. But Gronkowski’s not done. He launches his body as a human spear and plows into the defenseless, and unsuspecting, White. To make matters worse, Gronk delivers a forearm shiver to the back of White’s head.
It was a weak and cowardice move deserving of a multiple-game suspension. Instead the league, in the midst of a crisis regarding brain injuries, decides to sit him for a single game.
Here’s Jenkins at her analytical best:
“Deflategate, according to Goodell, was about conspiring to subvert the rules. But what NFL rules could matter more than those governing violence after the whistle? If Gronkowski’s hit is no big deal, if it’s only worth one game, then which rules do matter? Seantrel Henderson got 10 games for using medical marijuana. You can hit a man in the head or the back when he’s down in this league, but try to kill the pain with a little cannabis and it can cost you a season.”
The NFL’s disciplinary program is simply absurd.
What Gronkowski did on Sunday goes beyond a simple emotion-driven penalty in a game. As Jenkins points out, Gronkowski’s act was:
“calculated, ego-driven retaliation against an opponent who couldn’t have been more defenseless or still. Worst of all, it was a shot to the head, when Gronkowski knows full well that concussions can lead to long-term neurological problems, even fatal disease.”
In legal terms, this situation represents a classic tort, or wrongful injury. Gronkowski’s act — committed well after the whistle and the play had ended — could have seriously injured an innocent victim who was out of bounds.
One game? Please.
When it comes to exercising his broad disciplinary powers, it’s increasingly clear that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is incompetent.
— 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.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
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.
Order from Amazon
Order from Amazon
Order from Amazon
Ken Reed’s Author Page on Amazon