Whenever the NFL makes a statement about protecting players from illegal hits, it’s quickly followed by NFL players coming forward to say they don’t need to be protected. So it should be no surprise that after the NFL said it was going to protect players from trash talk, players quickly came forward to say they can take the talk just fine.
One such player is Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who wrote on Twitter this morning that he doesn’t like the league’s crackdown on players yapping on the field.
Responding to a tweet from Adam Schefter about the issue, Jones-Drew wrote, “so in other words they want us to be robots… Have no emotion or passion and we are talking about playoffs ( jim mora voice).”
Jones-Drew also said he thinks the NFL profits from trash talk, noting that the talk this week between the Jets and the Patriots will probably translate to increased TV ratings. And he said he thinks the NFL is changing what makes football great.
“I grew up in the Bay Area in the Jack Tatum era,” Jones-Drew wrote. “So a lil talk is just fine when the players start acting on it then that’s when you fine them… Why do you think fans love this game it violent and everyone loves that.”
I’m always a little queasy when people cite Jack Tatum in these types of conversations, since Tatum’s most famous hit left Darryl Stingley in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. And I’ll note that Tatum retired five years before Jones-Drew was born.
But I do think Jones-Drew is basically right, as was Jets center Nick Mangold, who said on PFT Live on Friday that trash talk is all in good fun. The NFL’s emphasis on curbing the trash talk might just draw more attention to something that would just as easily be ignored.