Rant of the Week: Wish in One Hand…

Chris Schisler

The NFL is a business and the product they sell is football. The NFL has the biggest, strongest and fastest athletes in the entire world. These great athletes play a very violent sport. Injuries happen, its a part of the game. Now we live in such a politically correct, oversensitive world that specializes in hypocrisy. There are millions, if not billions of NFL and college football fans and player safety has become a hot button issue. The same fans who celebrate the loudest thuds of colliding pads think the NFL does not do enough to protect their players. The same fans who whine that players’ salaries are too high think the league needs to take better care of the players. You cannot have it both ways. Furthermore, we need to accept that injury and threats to your future health are part of football.

I have a friend named Ed, and I know exactly what he would say about this. He would say “Well, wish in one hand and shit in the other.” It may be a crude way of putting it, but that is essentially what this controversy makes the NFL do. The NFL is a business. The bottom line is important- booming businesses like to keep booming. They are doing everything they can to make the game safer. From new technology in equipment and new rules the league is taking important steps forward. They however are stuck. They cannot regulate the violence out of the game. They can not make billions for intramural flag football. Football is and always will be a violent sport and regulations can only make it so safe. They have a goal that conflicts with the core of their product; the NFL is wishing in one hand… and you know the drill.

Everything is about liability. The NFL does not get all warm and fuzzy and try to care for their players. The league is tired of lawsuits, tired of settlements and tired of protecting the shield, if you know what I mean.

I push carts at a grocery store. They make me put a bright yellow vest (even in the day) on top of my ugly bright yellow uniform. I resent the vest. The rule is not enforced for my safety. The fact of the matter is they don’t care and if you can’t see a bright yellow shirt, you should not be driving. Its about liability. The rules in the NFL are no different. Defensive players loathe these rules that land them fines and suspensions as well as 15 yards against their team. The rules do rightfully punish people who obviously cross the line. However they often punish players just for playing hard. It makes the league look tough on its player safety stance and accomplishes nothing else.

The NFL can’t have it both ways- though the fans will always want them to try. The league is trying to protect itself from a legal stance while preserving as much of the brutal nature of football. Football fans want to see hard hits. Football fans get upset about concussions. The league will always have battles in the courts, there is no way to squash every lawsuit. Fortunately the NFL is huge and virtually indestructible. I don’t care if commissioner Goodell only makes $30 million a year. It won’t make anyone in football broke to let them play the violent sport that we love: FOOTBALL.

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