Union should be more visible on head-trauma issue

To date, there has been a debate between the NFL and certain members of the medical community regarding whether and to what extent the repeated blows to the head suffered by football players might cause long-term health problems.

So where’s the NFL Players Association in all of this?

“The NFLPA has some responsibility here too,” one source with knowledge of the dynamics between the league and the union said.  “Recall the congressional study that
was highly critical of the NFLPA for failing to monitor or maintain any records
regarding the risks associated with head trauma, leading at least one person to
call the NFLPA a one-issue union.”

It’s a great point.  And with the NFL and the NFLPA currently in the early stages of working out a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, this issue should be one of the more important issues to be considered.

Still, it shouldn’t be a point of contention between the two sides.  Management and labor should have an equal incentive to address the problem.

“If you accept the NFL’s position that one of the primary reason for the steroid
program is its concern for the health of the players, then there is no
legitimate basis for that concern not to extend to the long term health risks of
playing the game,” the source observed.  “Disciplining players to protect against the debatable health
risks of some PED’s or diuretics cannot be reconciled with putting its head in
the sand when it comes to the long-term impact of repeated head trauma.”

Amen again.  And we’re hopeful that the NFLPA will commit itself to keeping the league from ignoring this potentially important issue to the quality of players’ lives in the many years (ideally) they’ll be living after their football days are over.

10 responses to “Union should be more visible on head-trauma issue

  1. The union members don’t have the problems, so they don’t care. It similar to when they turned their back on Johnny Unitas. The NFLPA members are strong, vibrant and rich. They don’t concern themselves about guys like Al Toon, Mike Webster or Andre Waters or many others. Unfortunately for many of them, their families will in a few years.

  2. These guy’s beat each other sensless on the field & their crappy union would like to forget about them after they retire.
    They need to worry more about long term medical care than some kid who hasn’t done a thing in the league (per their stance on a rookie cap).

  3. The union cares about you if you are paying the union. Otherwise, not.
    Exactly. NFL cares about you when you are generating revenue. Otherwise, not.

  4. The Jets are aware of this, they sign people with the last names relating to the mental capacity they’ll have later in life – Toon, Clowney
    P.S. I know I am going to hell, thank you.

  5. Players are optimistic & short-sighted by training. It’s all about the next season, the next contract. The NFLPA acts in a way that reflects the attitudes of its members. The only way I see that changing is that if the NFLPA creates a separate kind of membership for retired players.

  6. Everyone seems to be forgetting that the Union – the NFLPA – was run by Gene Upshaw for a quarter of a century. In fact, Gene Upshaw WAS the Union for all intents and purposes and he had side deals everywhere with the league. If we ever get to look over all the phone logs from all the years back, there was probably hardly a day when Upshaw DIDN’T call the likes of Al Davis.
    Former Director of HR, Mary Moran, claims there was collusion with the League in the stupid lawsuit she filed after being let go. It should trigger a deeper investigation into the dealings of the past 25 years BEFORE DeMaurice Smith inherited this mess. And it be obvious to everyone with common sense just exactly why he’s intent on firing people like her so he can finally have a chance to move this Union in the right direction for active AND retired players for the first time in decades. Upshaw may have started out as a “man for all players” but it didn’t take long for the money and the power to overwhelm him. And THAT is why you have things like term limits and a strong Board.

  7. this will all die down soon enough,no one cares.it’s all about the money,that goes for labor and management.
    in the best of all possible worlds,this problem should be the driving force of the new contract negotiations,but like i said,it’s all about the money.

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