The concussion lawsuits filed by former NFL players have generated a lot of interest of late, but not every ex-NFLer is involved in them.
Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk says that he never had a concussion in his 13-year career, which likely colors his opinion about moves being made to make the game safer. Faulk, who admits to worrying about how his body will hold up in 10 years, isn’t a fan of such moves and told Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as much in a recent interview.
“It’s pretty simple for me,” Faulk said. “Player safety is ‘Go play golf. Go play basketball where they call fouls for slapping you on the hand.’ … But it’s football. I hope guys get to play longer and there aren’t as many injuries as there were in the past. But I’m sorry, it is a contact sport. And I will feel cheated to a certain extent (if too many changes are made) because I want to watch the contact sport that I grew up loving and watching, but I know that’s no longer possible.”
Faulk’s opinion doesn’t make him unsympathetic to the players suing the league, however. Faulk likens the situation to that of smoking, where people are upset about a lack of information about the dangers involved instead of knowingly making a decision that might cause them harm. Smoking is still legal, but packs of cigarettes now come with warning labels about the potential damage they can do to smokers.
It’s not a bad analogy, because, as Faulk says, there’s a violent nature to football that you can’t eradicate without fundamentally changing the way the game is played. Players now know more about the risks involved in playing that game, which means they are free to make the same decision as smokers about whether or not to partake. The majority of the players will likely continue to make that choice, even if they share Faulk’s fear that things might be different a decade down the road.