Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather won’t be disciplined for saying that he’ll try to end careers by aiming at opponents’ knees in the wake of his one-game suspension for aiming at their heads, but that doesn’t mean anyone was happy with what he had to say.
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith posted a statement to the union’s website regarding Meriweather’s comments after speaking to the safety. While Meriweather hasn’t apologized or clarified his comments, Smith said that he is apologetic.
“I spoke to Brandon. He is passionate about the game, and I know he is sorry for what he said,” Smith said. “He is concentrating on helping his team win the rest of the season. Brandon knows that all players have a responsibility to each other and to play within the rules of the game.”
Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports also got a statement from NFL vice president of football operations Merton Hanks, who handles disciplinary matters among other responsibilities, about his own conversation with Meriweather.
“We have no higher priority than player health and safety,” Hanks said. “Recent comments by Brandon Meriweather call into question his commitment to that objective and were clearly inappropriate. I have spoken with Brandon, and he understands what is expected of him as an NFL player, which includes avoiding any acts that unnecessarily and unreasonably endanger the welfare of other players.”
Plenty of players have been able to play well on defense by focusing their energies on delivering hits in the area between the head and the knees, something Meriweather and others should keep in mind. Issues of player safety and the integrity of the game aren’t going to go away and they should be open to adjustment, but the idea that you can’t make legal hits without trying to hurt players is not a truthful one.