Controversial Dr. David Chao leaves the Chargers

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When a person at the center of a controversy resigns, claiming he wants to spend more time with his family is a common face-saving measure.

Today, the San Diego Chargers issued a statement saying, “Team Doctor David Chao has notified the club that he has decided to step down due to health reasons and to spend more time with his family.”

It may very well be true that Dr. Chao wants to spend more time with his family and has health problems that prevent him from taking on all the responsibilities of being a team doctor. But it’s also true that Chao has been harshly criticized by the NFL Players Association for, in the opinion of the union, failing to provide adequate care for players. And it wouldn’t be at all surprising to learn that Chao’s desire to spend more time with his family was brought on at least in part by a feeling that the harsh criticism wasn’t going away as long as he remained the Chargers’ team doctor.

NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said early this year that the union was concerned about Chao — and concerned about the fact that the NFL and the Chargers were allowing him to stay on the job.

“The NFLPA will take every step to hold the NFL and its member clubs accountable to provide the care that they are mandated to provide,” Smith said. “Dr. Chao’s previous medical liability issues only increases our desire to engage in a thorough and comprehensive credentialing process to determine which physicians are providing care to our players and how they were selected by the teams.”

The players’ union will be glad to see that Dr. Chao will now be spending more time with his family, and no time with the Chargers.