Five weeks ago tonight, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton suffered an apparent concussion during a crunch-time drive in the opening game of the regular season, at Denver. Soon, the findings of the dual investigations launched by the NFL and NFL Players Association will be announced.
Unless they aren’t.
Per a source with knowledge of the NFL’s investigation, the league’s exploration into the question of whether someone failed to remove Newton for a concussion evaluation is nearly completed. The league is waiting to hear from the union before releasing its findings.
Per a source with knowledge of the NFLPA’s investigation, the union currently is waiting for the league to announce its findings before the NFLPA does.
And so two groups that have a hard time agreeing on things apparently disagree about the posture of the first investigation under the new concussion protocol enforcement process.
If the two sides disagree on whether the rules were violated, an arbitrator will resolve the situation. The Commissioner has full and complete authority to determine the penalty, if a violation is found.
Whatever the findings, the sooner they are announced, the better. With games being played every week, the people responsible for pulling players for concussion evaluations need to know what’s expected. And the public needs to know what if any sanctions will be imposed for the failure to protect players in these key moments of action, where a strong temptation exists to do nothing.
Especially where, with so many people having the ability to press pause, it’s easy to wait for someone else to be the one who potentially impacts the outcome of the game (and loses their anonymity faster than you can say “Ken Bone”) by taking a key player off the field in a critical moment.