The NFL Must Support Safety 100 Percent of the Time
Players must understand the hazards of the game, and safety must be prioritized
February 1, 2013
It is not necessarily the game that needs to be changed, but rather the way that information sharing is approached in football. There will always be athletes who want to become professional football players, who have passion for the game, and will give up anything to play. However, the NFL needs to support the players in the quest to stay safe and healthy.
For example, in 2010, in a display of seriousness over player safety, Steelers linebacker James Harrison was fined $75,000 for his hit on Browns receiver Mohamed Massaquoi in an October game. The NFL made the decision to sell a photograph of the hit on their website ranging in price from $15.95 to $249.95.
The NFL can't have it both ways. Safety needs to be prioritized and supported 100 percent by all constituencies involved and the message of safety and the hazards involved in football need to be repeated consistently. The NFL and NFLPA need to support programs such as the Living Heart Foundation's HOPE (Heart, Obesity, Prevention & Education) Program for retired NFL players. These kinds of programs promote positive collaboration with the medical community and will ultimately lead to healthier players who can serve as strong role models.