NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has suggested that players should inform their teams’ medical staffs if they believe a teammate is suffering from the symptoms of a concussion.
Washington Redskins fullback Mike Sellers doesn’t like that idea.
“We ain’t no snitches over here,” Sellers said of the idea, per the Associated Press. “That is not happening.”
It’s a little startling to hear a player suggest that showing concern for a teammate’s health is akin to “snitching,” but Sellers’ blunt assessment serves as a reminder, once again, that no matter how vigilant teams and the league are about trying to keep injured players off the field, some players want to play hurt.
And although Sellers’ “snitches” language is questionable, NFL Players Association spokesman George Atallah raises a legitimate issue of whether it’s really a player’s place to assess whether a teammate has a brain injury.
“If every player were a medical doctor that could recognize symptoms of concussions, then that would be a great idea,” Atallah said. “I hope that that league — instead of asking players to police each other — would consider calling on team medical staffs and independent doctors to police the situation as closely.”
Still, Packers linebacker Aaron Kampman said he has done exactly what Goodell suggests, letting the team doctors know if he thinks a teammate might have a concussion.
“Guys are going to naturally look out for each other,” Kampman told the Associated Press. “I see that now. I see a guy come off, and he’s woozy, I say, ‘This guy here.’”
Our own Mike Florio pointed out that the league’s proposal may have more to do with lawyers than with doctors.
“This idea is covered with the fingerprints of a lawyer,” Florio mentioned to me over e-mail. “I believe the league wants to be able to say that it created multiple avenues for reporting that players are suffering concussions, and that if the avenues for reporting concussions aren’t used, then either there must not be a problem with concussions or the players are largely responsible for the failure of the problem to be properly addressed.”