At a time when more than nearly 3,800 former NFL players are suing because of concussions, football is more sensitive than ever to head injuries and their long-term impacts.
The NBA doesn’t have the same degree of risk for concussions, but the reaction of one coach shows the gulf between generations when it comes to dealing with them.
When New Orleans Hornets rookie center Anthony Davis took an elbow to the side of the head in the opener, the league’s protocol kept him from making the trip to Chicago Saturday.
“When you’re dealing with the brain, I guess what’s happening in football it’s impacted everybody,” Hornets coach Monty Williams said, via John Reid of the New Orleans Times Picayune. “So he got touched up a little bit last night and I’m sure that happens a lot in basketball.
“It’s just that now you treat everybody like they have on white gloves and pink drawers. It’s just getting old, but it’s just the way the league is now.”
Williams, who played in the league and said he suffered “four or five” concussions but claimed they didn’t bother him, effectively referred to a man with head trauma as a girl. That’s the kind of ridiculous, thick-headed treatment most commonly ascribed to football coaches.
That it’s blatantly sexist barely registers on the scale of stupid Williams was apparently trying to break.
But wait, it gets worse.
In discussing Davis’ desire to play in his hometown, Williams continued to pile on the backward commentary.
“He wanted to come,” the coach said. “But the rules say you can’t fly. Again it’s a man’s game. We’re treating these guys like they are 5 years old. He desperately wanted to come, but he couldn’t make it.”
The NBA, following the precedent set by the NFL, adopted a new concussion policy in 2011. Davis will have to prove himself symptom-free, then be cleared by a league-hired neurologist, which could cost him several games.
Games, which to his coach, are more important than the long-term health of the first pick in the NBA Draft.
The NBA needs to sit Williams down and make him realize how ridiculous and frankly dangerous he sounds, because he obviously doesn’t know enough about the health concerns created by a thing that inconveniences his ability to fill out a lineup.
And perhaps he should be introduced to some of the players who are struggling with dementia, and realize that at one time, they played a man’s game too.