After further review…As we have watched the National Football League 2017 season develop, it is apparent that violence has escalated from past years. Many of the many recent comments from our readers of the TunneySide are concerned with the increase in violent behavior across the league. These readers love this game of football, but are concerned that the brutality of contact will destroy the game. Some ask: “Don’t players realize the NFL is just that – a game?”
Football has always been a violent game. More than 100 years ago President Theodore Roosevelt threatened to abolish the sport unless changes were made to the way it was played. This issue is highlighted in an upcoming docustory titled: ‘Through the Eyes of the Referee’. Stay tuned. But the emphasis on hitting today has escalated the physicality of football and turned it from being a contact sport into that of a collision sport. However, it is the contact after the whistle or contact on a defenseless player that is of utmost concern. What constitutes a defenseless player? Everyone on the field between the lines is reminded to be aware of a block or tackle until the whistle, which by rule stops play. Contact after the whistle has mounted.
New England tight-end Rob Gronkowski’s retaliation hit on a player lying on the ground after the play is the type of contact that needs strict legislation. That hit resulted in Gronkowski being suspended, without pay, for one game. Gronk has subsequently apologized and served his suspension. We’ve also seen other incidents like the fight between Oakland Raiders receiver Michael Crabtree and Denver Broncos defensive player Aqib Talib, which started on the field and spilled into the bench, in full view of everyone resulting in a two-game suspension for both. The ruling was appealed, and the ruling body reduced it to a one game suspension. It’s hard to understand why the punishment for a non-football altercation – that’s what a fist-fight is – should not have stood as adjudicated.
Having been on the field for more than 500 NFL games, I do understand the passion a player must channel to compete in today’s game. A major concern is that it appears players are hitting with intention to hurt an opponent. These players forget that all 1700 NFL players have the same goal every week – to play the game hard but emerge with their health intact. I am also troubled by the apparent lack of respect for opponents in the same brotherhood.
Will you log-in your concerns about today’s NFL game?
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