When I was down in Atlanta from mid-to-late December, anytime my television was on you could bet I was watching ESPN. Because I don’t get that station in Canada, I made sure to get my FILL of Skip Bayless, Stephen A Smith and my wife, Cari Champion. One of the prevailing topics of the First Take show while I was down there was RG3’s health. Robert was steadily complaining to the media about his frustration with the Redskins “mistrust” of his own analysis of his health, and he made sure everyone knew he was pissed. Not only that, but his replacement, Kirk Cousins, was playing EXTREMELY well in his absence. The truth is, RG3 was DYING to get back on the field and after leading the Redskins to an unexpected playoff appearance, and that was his DECISION that he made as a GROWN-ASS man.
Midway through the 4th quarter yesterday, I sat down and watched THIS:
Oh, my bad, I meant I saw THIS:
Now, in the wake of this gruesome injury, Mike Shanahan and the Redskins team doctors are going to face an onslaught of questions from the media as well as the league, about how they handled RG3’s knee. Already there are articles floating around the internet talking about malpractice, the organizations overzealousness to win, the pressures of being a “man” in professional sports and the careless society we live in. But in ALL these articles, there will be ONE phrase that will constantly, conveniently overlooked:
I understand that the organization needs to play a role in protecting these young men, but at the end of the day, these rich athletes are NOT soldiers being thrown into the front lines of a war that they could never truly have prepared for. These are young businessmen who, in this day and age, are MORE than aware of the risks they are getting into EVERY SINGLE PLAY. When I sit back and look at all the lawsuits against the NFL from former players suffering from mental and physical trauma because of what the game took from their minds, bodies and souls, I can see how those suits make sense because of the lack of research and safety precautions available 30 years ago when some of those guys just started to play the game.
But to say that players TODAY can participate in this violent sport with abject wilful ignorance is simply ridiculous. More than EVER before, players know EXACTLY what they are getting into every time they step on the field, try to hide a concussion or lie about the extent of their knee injury to get back on the field quickly. At SOME point, we can’t stop treating these GROWN MEN like ignorant children who need to be babied. They are ADULTS with enough awareness and cognizance to understand how their actions can adversely affect their OWN health, and to use excuses such as “they are simply VICTIMS of a sports-obessed society” is nothing more than a worthless COP-OUT.
If you want to blame Mike Shanahan for letting RG3 stay in the game, or Dr. Andrews for clearing him to play in the first place, don’t forget to share some of that blame around to Robert Griffin for putting himself in harm’s way. At some point, we need to start holding these ADULTS accountable.
This Is Your Conscience
P.s. My picks for next week’s divisional round are as follows:
– I have the Broncos beating the Ravens and bringing Ray Lewis’ Hall of Fame career to an end.
– I have the Patriots CRUSHING the Texans like they did on Monday Night Football a few weeks back.
– I have the Niners beating the Packers in a close game.
– I have the Seahawks beating the Falcons – and the city of Atlanta wanting Mike Smith’s HEAD on a platter for it.