The latest knee injury suffered by Redskins Robert Griffin III, as bad as it is for him and his team, could do some good.
It could force greater sensitivity to the quality of playing surfaces throughout the NFL.
According to USA Today, the NFL Players Association wants to see improvements at FedEx Field. “The head coach and players have said themselves that the field was not up to snuff,” NFLPA spokesman George Atallah told Jarrett Bell of USA Today. “We certainly hope that they upgrade it.”
We wish it were something more than hope. We wish the NFLPA were in position to demand it.
“The Commissioner, and I know it’s a tough job, but he doesn’t mandate mouthpieces,” Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson said. “You care about us, but you don’t mandate mouthpieces. You care about us, but we play on that field last week that was like, ‘Really? Really?’
“That should be illegal. That’s like working in a sweat shop to me.”
Robinson’s mention of mouthpieces helps put the union’s position on fields in better perspective. If the NFL were to mandate mouthpieces, the NFLPA would fight them on it. So every safety measure doesn’t happen because of the NFLPA; some must be pursued in spite of the union’s opposition.
When it comes to having safe playing fields, there should be no opposition, by anyone other than teams that are penny wise and guaranteed-contract foolish when it comes to exposing their employees to unnecessary risks. Regardless of where the push comes from, it’s time for the NFL, the players, the teams, the networks, and anyone else with a stake in the quality of the games to insist on the establishment of uniform field standards that are enforced zealously.
If the field once known as the Frozen Tundra can perform in January like it performs in September, every other field in every other NFL city should do the same.