We’ve been watching Washington since January 6, 2021, and ask, “why is Trump a free man?” Any man or woman who committed treason and then committed it again by stealing classified documents who was not a politician, would be sitting in a federal prison today waiting trial, without bail. This situation proves once again that the rule of law does not apply to the ‘rich and powerful.’
One week ago today, Miami Dolphins star quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, clearly suffered a concussion against the Buffalo Bills. However, an independent doctor cleared him and allowed the young QB to return to the game. On Thursday last, Tagovailoa was once again thrown to the ground during the game with the Cincinnati Bengals. He laid on the field showing signs of a severe neurological injury. At the hospital, he was able to move his extremities and later the injury was confirmed as a severe concussion.
After Sunday’s ‘hit,’ Tagovailoa stood, took a step, and fell down. It was a clear sign of head trauma. Allowing him to return to the game and then play again on a short week Thursday evening, proves that sometimes the rules don’t apply to star players in the NFL.
Professional football in the 21st century cannot be compared to the game in the 1950s, 60s, or 70s. First, in the 50s many players continued to play both offense and defense. More significantly, quarterbacks had to be the toughest players on the field. Standing tall, waiting to throw the ball to a receiver, and hit by a 250-pound opponent running at full speed is undoubtedly the most painful experience in the game. In those decades the QBs could be hit anywhere on their body, including the head and knees. Serious injuries, sometimes career-ending, were not unusual. Many quarterbacks playing today, including Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers would never have lasted one season. Today’s QBs often finish the game with clean jerseys.
This is not the mid-twentieth century, and rules have changed for good reason. Ticket prices have increased by 1,000 percent or more than in the early days of the NFL, and fans are willing to pay those prices to see the best players on each team compete. Have no illusions, not all owners or league officials care about the health of the players. However, they do care about profits made from “butts in the seats,” and television revenue.
None of this would have changed if not for the discovery of traumatic brain injuries after the deaths of several star players. After dissecting brain tissue, it was eventually confirmed that repeated hits to the heads of NFL players caused permanent and frequently debilitating injuries which were undiagnosed. The rules set in place today are designed to protect the futures of NFL players long after they leave the game.
The situation with Tua Tagovailoa is unforgivable. There can be no exceptions to the rules, especially when safety is involved. The truth is that Brady would not be playing as a middle-aged man today if the rules had not been changed. The NFLPA, the National Football League Players Association, is outraged, as it should be. The medical professional who allowed Tagovailoa to return to Sunday’s game was fired on Saturday, as he should have been.
I believe in rules which make sense, and most of the rules which exist in the NFL today are the result of common sense. However, if even once they are broken, so is the NFL itself.
By James Turnage, Novelist
Indy Star: Doyel: Dolphins, NFL must answer for what happened to Tua Tagovailoa
ESPN: Unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant who evaluated Tua Tagovailoa fired, sources say; investigation ongoing
Top and Featured Image Courtesy Mark Freeman‘s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License