SBD/September 16, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NFL To Start Cracking Down On Taunting, Accusing Players Of Fake Injuries

The office of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell last week "sent out a memo ... to all teams -- owners, GMs, head coaches -- saying, 'Enough, no more, do not talk about another team's player,'" and the emphasis was "because of the whole faking injuries thing," according to Jay Glazer of Fox Sports. Glazer said NFL execs "don't want anybody questioning whether or not somebody really is hurt or not and they threatened, if you do this, we could hit you with conduct detrimental to the league." Glazer: "That is a hefty punishment. It's not just a slap on the wrist" ("Fox NFL Sunday," 9/15). Meanwhile, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported the officiating crew for Seahawks-Panthers in Week 1, led by referee Jeff Triplette, "repeatedly warned players about profanities directed at each other and even flagged" Seahawks LB K.J. Wright "for mouthing a loud obscenity at a Panthers player." It was technically a taunting penalty, but the Competition Committee "did recommend emphasis on such verbal abuse." NFL VP/Officiating Dean Blandino "conceded Saturday that actions, verbal or otherwise, directed at an opponent is something that officials want to curtail, especially in light of the many scuffles that surfaced this past week" ("Sunday NFL Countdown," ESPN, 9/15).

MISSED OPPORTUNITY? In N.Y., William Rhoden writes of the NFL concussion lawsuit, "By settling, the former players and their families won immediate financial assistance for pressing and sometimes costly medical problems." However, they "lost a golden opportunity to learn more about what might have caused them." A trial would have "forced the NFL to make a concession similar to the one made years ago by the tobacco industry." Without "admitting guilt or revealing what it might have known about head injuries, the NFL agreed to pay for the outcome of those risks." The settlement was "a game-changer in the discussion about head injuries and player safety, and for the NFL, it came with a relatively cheap price tag." The settlement has "left critics of football stranded on a moral island, though I suspect a large number have not lost much sleep over the moral and ethical costs of America’s brutal pastime" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/16).
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