Posted on: March 6, 2013 8:01 am

NFL Fixing Symptoms Instead of Problems

Friends of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell have reportedly had conversations with him regarding his concern that a player could die on the field if the violence of the game continues.  This is a valid and legitimate concern that we have chosen to ignore because as a nation we love the game that we grew up watching.  Warriors battling through the mud and the blood to win the game.  The toughest of the tough that would have part of their finger amputated just so they could play in the next game. 

No one is asking these tough guys to stop being tough but the facts are prevalent and something has to change.  It is a conversation piece when Conrad Dobler lifts his pant legs to show what at some point in time would have been considered a knee.  Or when Michael Strahan puts his ridiculously bent pinky finger to his mouth on his new daytime television show.  But it is not a conversation piece when a former player cannot remember his name. 

Eric LeGrand, whom as a Buccaneers fan I am partial to, is the definition of a warrior on the field.  He had his life forever changed in a brief moment on the collegiate field and he has never stopped fighting to regain the freedom that we all take for granted every single day.  Most of us can get right up and grab a soda from the fridge, check the mail, or go to the bathroom.  Eric is fighting just to be able to get out of his wheelchair ever again because of the severity of the neck injury that he suffered. 

Yet, there are men who are significantly injured in another way.  You cannot tell simply by looking at them.  But it can become blatantly obvious when you speak to them or hear them in an interview.  These are the players who worked through a little haze.  Got a little rattled.  But then they got right back out there.  You cannot stop these men from telling you they are fine and getting right back on the field.  But the effects are undeniable. 

Many of these men cannot remember what they did on the field, what they did last week, or many other things that we as a society take for granted every day.  The autopsy of Junior Seau showed that he had damage from brain trauma.  This is an undeniable result of playing this great game.

But it is an unnecessary result as well.

In Nascar, when Dale Earnhardt Sr. was killed at the end of the Daytona 500 the sport did not shut down.  They did not adopt new rules that stated the cars could only go 50 miles per hour and that they could not bump each other.  Instead, Nascar worked with the manufacturers of the safety equipment and created a revolutionary device that would stabilize the head and neck in a high speed crash. 

Once upon a time the NFL utilized this “revolutionary” thinking.  In the beginning the helmets were made of leather and they evolved to the current padding that the NFL players wear.  But at some point the NFL decided that they wanted to make the game faster so they made the padding smaller and easier to manipulate. 

The point is that the NFL is looking in the wrong places to solve the problems that they currently have.  The current management in the NFL has identified the problem, there are too many concussions and significant injuries in the game.  This is not fiction.  They are exactly correct.  But the answer is not telling the players to slow down.  Telling the players you cannot tackle like this.  Telling the players you cannot hit this player. 

The answer is in the EQUIPMENT. 

Why does the NFL insist on making the protective equipment smaller and easier to move in.  If they were truly concerned with the safety of the players then the equipment would be larger and more restrictive.  Players would not be able to establish the significant explosive hits if they are unable to move as freely. 

Why does the NFL not look at making the helmet larger.  It would appear that a larger helmet would provide more protection and be heavier which would slow the player down. 

Is there a way to attach the helmet to the shoulder pads for linemen?  Would that prevent many of the neck injuries that interior linemen often suffer?

Would bulkier and more restrictive leg pads slow players down to the point that we decrease the risk of concussions as well?

I am not a doctor and I do not pretend to have all of the answers.

What I do know is that there is a significant problem present and developing with the game right now.  The brain is a complicated and fragile thing.  These men make a choice to play this game and some of them are significantly rewarded.  But too many pay too high of a price. 

We have the technology.  We have the some of the brightest minds available to develop a solution to this problem.

Yet…the NFL has put a crossing guard up to say Slow Down.  Brilliant!
Posted on: February 21, 2008 8:56 pm

Don't blame Roidger and his fellow Roiders...

Neither myself nor anyone else is a mind reader.  None of us have a time machine to go back and sort through the so-called steroid era and its not like we really want one anyways.  The simple fact is that the game is not tainted, the records do mean a lot, and RoidGate is mostly fueled by the media looking for the next big story.  We are relying on ancient newspaper writers and the talking heads on that four letter network which we all love to define what America's Pasttime has now become.  Congress has decided to "take a stand" against this injustice to the world in which the fan is the victim.  If you ask me the taxpayer is actually the victim because these overpaid, interest group driven grandstanders are attempting to get more face time to promote their next election.  Word of advice congress, if you are going to have a panel to question baseball players, at least get politicians who could identify a baseball in a lineup. 

I am not here to defend Roger Clemens or anyone else accused of using performance enhancers, but I would rather ask why we are not going after the people who were encouraging these players to "get an edge"?  The players made bad choices but that does not make them dangerous criminals that are going endanger our society.  The truth of the matter is that Bud Selig needs to be in front of congress facing criminal charges not only for the lies he has continued to tell but for encouraging steroid use to build the popularity of the game.  Those of you who want to say you don't believe the likes of Jose Canseco or John Rocker, I would ask why not?  These guys were there, and I don't think there is any doubt that they were both doing steroids.  They did not have to name names to get us interested in their story so when they do name names I for one believe them. 

Both of these players have stated that major league baseball not only knew about the steroids but educated players on how to use them effectively.  We talk about the effect that steroids in baseball will have on the youth yet we are not doing anything about the problem.  Who cares if baseball players took HGH in the past, it wasn't banned from the game therefore it was an accepted part of the game.  We can't go back and prosecute a person for an act that was not a crime at the time.  I agree that steroids should be banned but that means that we need a tougher policy on steroid use.  This 3 strikes and your out is a joke and simply lets the borderline athlete know to do what he has to do and get that big payday.  The first time you are caught you should be suspended without pay for a full season and the second time you are finished for life.  Oh, and if you are caught in college then that is strike one so don't try to get away with it there. 

What is in the past is history.  We can't change the way the game was played 5, 50, or 100 years ago.  Some guys played in tougher conditions or bigger parks many years ago but we accept those records for what they are.  Let's go after the promoters of this era and make it known to the players that if you continue this behavior then you will have to find another line of work.  Ultimately, Bud Selig needs to go and we can all go back to building the game back up. 

Category: MLB
Tags: Steroids
Posted on: February 8, 2008 1:31 pm

Wake Up St. Petersburg!!!

Why is it that as soon as a professional franchise mentions the words "new stadium", there are opposition groups banging down the doors of city hall?  Anyone who has been to a game at Tropicana Field can attest to the fact that the Rays are like a novelty baseball franchise.  We have an ownership group that is committed to building a winning team both on the field as well as off, but we have a population of complainers in this area that think the Rays should just play in the stadium that they have.  I can give you countless reasons why this new stadium should be built, but somehow I believe that no matter how good the reasons, citizens who are opposed to this development will never change their mind. 

The ownership group is investing in this team, even though you would not think this was the case if you listened to sports talk radio in this town the past few years.  Stu Sternberg is a smart businessman and he does not just spend money for the sake of spending money.  He has taken his time with this team, made prudent decisions on a personnel basis, and also made many improvements to the facilities. The renovations to the Trop in the past few years have made it a much more enjoyable experience to attend a ball game.  Unfortunately, no matter how many improvements are made to the Trop, it will remain an outdated baseball stadium that was in need of replacement before the Rays ever took the field there. 

Our new ownership group recognizes this situation, and instead of simply living with it they are trying to work out a suitable alternative to continuing to play there.  Recently the plans for a new stadium on the downtown waterfront were unveiled and with that came the opposition groups.  Citizens of St. Petersburg who think that they do not need the Rays and would be just fine without them.  I hate to tell you St. Pete, YOU ARE WRONG!!! 

This new stadium will bring increased tourism to the downtown area, which helps the restaurants, shops, hotels, and bars that we all love in the downtown area.  The stadium is not an eyesore, it is more of an attraction to hold not only the Rays but also concerts, fireworks, college games, highschool tournaments, and who knows what else.  The people against this project look at it as another pro team getting whatever they want at the cost of the taxpayers which usually is the case, but not in this situation. 

The development of the new stadium is going to be largely funded by the redevelopment of the old stadium, which is definately an area that needs to be redeveloped.  They are planning on putting up residential housing, hotels, retail stores, a movie theater, as well as many other components to the existing stadium grounds.  Although all of this is in the planning stages, we as a community need to get behind the Rays and support their efforts in making not only their operations better, but making the city better at the same time. 

Category: MLB
Tags: Rays Field
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