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Cromartie Says Players Might Need To "Speak Up For Ourselves" On Hidden Injuries

NFL teams that have insisted on player secrecy regarding the extent of injuries might need to revisit the overall strategy.
It’s not enough to tell the players to zip their lips during the season; the teams need to do a better job of getting them to continue to clam up after the season has ended.
This year, four players have revealed since the year ended that they were far more injured than the team’s injury reports suggested.  The first was former Jets quarterback Brett Favre, who identified an arm injury that never had been disclosed by the team after a five-game crash-and-burn to end the campaign.
More recently, Pats running back Laurence Maroney revealed that he played with a broken bone in his shoulder, even though he hadn’t been listed on the injury report for his last game before landing on injured reserve.
Then, Packers safety Atari Bigby ‘fessed up regarding the extent to which his ankle had been effed up in 2008.
The latest player to blab on a post hoc basis is Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who played most of the year with a hip injury about which he said nothing.
“If, as players, we feel like we can play when we’re hurt, we’ve still got to stick up for ourselves,” Cromartie recently told Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports.  “We’ve given the organization all we can, and at the same time, they’ve got to give it back.  This league is, ‘What can you do for me now?’ and we all have a name to protect.  If the team’s not going to speak up for us, it’s for us as players to speak up for ourselves.”
Of course, players who choose to do so during the season will be doing so at their own peril.  Guys who don’t do what the team asks tend to have a harder time getting what they want, such money or playing time or, at some point, continued employment.
So this needs to be, in our view, an issue for the upcoming labor negotiations.  The union needs to secure for the players an absolute right to talk openly and honestly about their health, with strong penalties applicable to any retaliation from the team.
And then enough players need to take advantage of that right to dilute the potential benefits of holding a grudge against those players who opt for candor.
Until then, teams should explain to the players who are inclined to keep their mouths shut that discretion should extend beyond the last game of the season.

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11 Responses to “Cromartie Says Players Might Need To "Speak Up For Ourselves" On Hidden Injuries”
  1. Kidekk says: Jun 2, 2009 1:20 PM

    Wait, this is a, “what can you do for me now” league? I thought it was a league of privilege? Oh, I get it, it’s a league that grants you the privilege to play in it if you are good enough. Now I understand.

  2. VonClausewitz says: Jun 2, 2009 1:29 PM

    This is an idiotic suggestion Florio. There’s absolutely no way for causality to be definitively associated between a team cutting a player and that player speaking up about his injury. Sure you can guess, but short of a staff member admitting it, there’s no leg to stand on. Everybody knows teams shuffle players around for all sorts of reasons. Putting language in the CBA that says players can speak up is pointless and counterproductive as teams will use this clause to brush off the need for clear injury reporting guidelines.
    Flat out the only real power a player has in fighting poor behavior by teams is the ability to walk away from them. The CBA needs to be focused on giving players more exit options.

  3. hayward giablommi says: Jun 2, 2009 1:37 PM

    I’m not sure I’d use Favre as an example to prove your point here, with the alleged “arm injury” that probably never even existed. Even if it did, the guy’s credibility is shot and only the Favre apologists would take it at face value..
    But I know things have been slow with him this week, and you had to crowbar him into a story somehow, so I understand.

  4. redwards says: Jun 2, 2009 1:59 PM

    Good for him. He’s right.

  5. nottrying says: Jun 2, 2009 2:05 PM

    Hip injuries may explain why a player didn’t run/tackle on a play but they don’t explain mental errors like leaving your guy completely uncovered….unless stupidity can be classified as an injury?

  6. johnthorpe says: Jun 2, 2009 2:22 PM

    Would it help matters if all football contracts were guaranteed, the way that baseball contracts are?
    Sure, you’d have some turds who get paid and then zone out…but wouldn’t that just encourage teams to do a little more due diligence on character issues?

  7. AllSeeingEye 2.0 says: Jun 2, 2009 2:47 PM

    The only problem is that they are risking that very health by talking about it!
    I’m not saying there is an easy answer, but that is the crux of the problem. The more “open” the teams OR players are about injuries the more other teams will target those injuries which will INCREASE the affect on the outcomes of games and INCREASE the chances of aggrevating the injuries.

  8. enilsson2 says: Jun 2, 2009 4:31 PM

    I disagree Mike. I say that the clubs should be allowed to silence their players and play hide-and-seek with injury reports as much as they want. Then, after the season, the players can air their grievances and protect their names, if their performance was sub-par. Maroney’s a good example. If teams had known immediately that the Pats’ brute was down for the count, they could have changed their strategies. But, if they can’t read it on the films, or don’t bother, then it’s their problem. Now that Maroney has broken the news about his health, his stock price will go back up close to where it was after his first season.

  9. Vito says: Jun 2, 2009 6:16 PM

    The players should want the injuries public because it can affect their value if they become free agents. If they come out after the season and talk about their injuries it just seems like they’re making excuses. If it’s known at that time that they are injured, when it comes time for them to get paid, inconsistency in their play will be properly attributed to their health and not to their work ethic or ability.

  10. ronmexico says: Jun 3, 2009 1:29 AM

    Did Cromartie also have the refs to blame for players not speaking up on player injuries?

  11. A_Cat_Named_Chicken says: Jun 3, 2009 12:39 PM

    I think the player should notify the league of the injuries and the league should enforce that the injuried area is off limits by spray painting the uniform area pink.

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