Raiders’ Ron Bartell: I won’t wear leg pads, so I’m saving fine money


Raiders cornerback Ron Bartell is one of the many NFL players who doesn’t wear knee and thigh pads and doesn’t like the NFL’s plan to make them mandatory starting in 2013. So he has a simple plan: He’s saving up some money now to pay whatever fines he gets for refusing to wear the pads a year from now.

Personally, I won’t be wearing them,” Bartell told the Contra Costa Times. “So I’d better put some fine money away.”

Bartell’s bravado sounds good now, but there’s a major flaw in his plan: He’s assuming that the NFL will enforce the mandatory leg pads by fining the players who don’t wear them. It’s possible that the NFL will enforce the mandatory leg pads by instructing the officials to tell any player who’s not wearing leg pads to put them on, and eject them from the game if they refuse. If that’s the case, Bartell is going to wear leg pads or he’s not going to be an NFL player.

Bartell said he doesn’t see the point in leg pads because he believes they slow players down without protecting against serious injuries.

“It takes away from the speed of the game,” Bartell said. “Hip pads, knee pads, thigh pads. They’re not going to stop you from tearing an ACL. It may stop a couple of soft-tissue injuries, but a knee pad isn’t going to stop a guy from blowing out a knee.”

Those concerns are valid, but the best course of action for Bartell would be to get involved with the negotiations between the players’ union and the league about the best way to implement the mandatory leg pads next season. Simply refusing to go along with the new rule isn’t going to work.

91 responses to “Raiders’ Ron Bartell: I won’t wear leg pads, so I’m saving fine money

  1. “It takes away from the speed of the game”–I am sure when he retires he will hop on the concussion bandwagon and sue. These guys can’t have it both ways.

  2. knee pads may also prevent concussions, how many times have we seen an incidental knee to the head cause a concussion?? Perhaps knee pads could soften the blow and prevent concussions.

  3. With today technology they can make football cleats that weigh only onces. I think they can make pads that weigh practically nothing.In the past many of football fastest players wore pads of some sort and did fine. These guys need to stop with the complaining and just play ball.

  4. If it takes away from everyone’s speed of the game, and therefore gives no one a competitive advantage, doesn’t it slow down the game as a whole and become a huge safety benefit in that manner?

  5. They should make this a.. the spokesman against the 18 game schedule because of “safety” concerns.

  6. It’s not all about the person wearing pads that prevent injury it also will help with padless legs colliding into other players ex knee to head.

    I’m sure they can come up with lightweight form fitting pads that will not affect “speed of the game” not that anyone complains about the lack of speed in the game.

  7. Agreed… NFL should allow players not to wear any protection as long as they sign a waiver stating they won’t sue after. I guarantee every player will shut-up and wear the pads… Some may even start wearing condoms.

  8. This is just ridiculous. First of all, tearing an acl IS a soft tissue injury.

    Second, the leg pads are not to prevent torn acls… they are to soften the impact when people get kneed (be it in the head, leg, arm, etc.). Good thing for all.

  9. Sorry Bartell but the NFL is getting sued for things that the players of that day might very well be complaining about at the time.

    If these guys don’t want to wear the equipment they should then sign a waiver stating they cannot sue later on for injuries. Even the knew helmet that protects better against concussions got push back from the players because it looks slightly different. What a bunch of children. It is like trying to get a child to wear a helmet when they go biking.

  10. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen a few highlights of Bo Jackson wearing the big goddy pads on his legs, and it didn’t look like he was slowed down.

  11. The decrease in speed will be imperceptible and nobody gains advantage if everybody is wearing the same equipment. The knee pads aren’t really for protecting the knee so much as they would limit some concussions from knees to the helmet. Stop being the “macho moron” and do what you are supposed to. (Helmets are much heavier and actually slow players down but this clown wears that without protest)

  12. The impact on speed is BS. The pads we are talking about are very light and the speed guys (WR’s, DB’s etc) will probably cut them down to nothing anyway.

  13. Tough talk-but all hot air.

    I will bet $1000 he will be wearing them. And I bet another $1000 Goodell will make sure the officials inspect him for uniform violations before the start of the first game in which they are required.

  14. For the millions they get paid, I’d wear a freaking tutu! Stop bitching and put on the pads! Sick of these whiney millionaires running their mouth about what they are or not going to do. Walk in the shoes of some folks that have to do some real crappy stuff to make a living! Shut your hole and play football!

  15. If everyone wears leg pads then everyone is effected equally, which means the point that is slows you down is an ineffectual argument.

  16. Here is where Goodell makes a stand. If he doesnt wear these pads, he wont play. He might get fined through preseason, but after several fines, he will get a suspension.

  17. “It takes away from the speed of the game”

    Most NBA players wear more leg padding than you, yet they can jump and fly around no problem..

    Maybe you shouldn’t be in the NFL??

    Just have them sewn into the pants and then they won’t have to worry about “forgetting” to put them in.

  18. Perfect example Why the NFL should do away with ALL fines and implement 5 game suspensions !!!! Lets see them save for the loss of 5 game checks and explain to their TEAM Mates why they are above the rules and don’t care about being on the field !!!!

  19. Throw anyone out of the league who refuses to wear the pads, plain and simple. Not like I can go to work and just say, I’m not wearing clothes.

    Son of a b., with the money these guys are making, they should be happy to wear anything the league tells them to.

  20. I am surprised this is such a big deal. Why are they all kicking about this? I can’t believe they will weigh that much. Why not bitch about better helmets?

  21. Did any of you actually play the game? Knee pads are a pain in the ass, the only thing it saves you from is some bruising. It’s bs that it’s being forced on them.

  22. Well if they slow you down then they slow everyone else down as well, so it is fair. I am sure you could catch ball better without shoulder pads as well, but you still wear those.

  23. You do know that many of the players that are suing played YEARS ago…when players actually still wore all of the pads…smh…while I disagree with not wearing them, they aren’t going to prevent the serious injuries that are plaguing the game. That is a fact.

  24. How can small leg pads slow down the game more than a heavy ass helmet and shoulder pads? That’s just in his head.

  25. It’s simple, those who refuse or are unwilling to change will be left behind. Football is no different than any other job when it comes to having rules, and if you are incapable of following them then you will find yourself willingly or unwillingly out of a job. All this controversy will becoming to end because Eventually the NFL will be made up of a new breed of player/fan that grew up playing/watching football in this new “safer” environment and it will no longer be an issue.

  26. Helmets interfere with my peripheral vision, so I’m just going to play without one and save-up fine money.

    I wonder why this guy didn’t run his 40 yard dash with shoulder pads on. They obviously don’t restrict movement or speed, because if they did he would refuse to wear it and just pay fines for that too, right?

  27. The league will tuck this new requirement into their back pocket. And when the concussion litigation comes to fruition, they will reach back and pull it out. They’ll point to this and say that they are trying to prevent injuries, but leg padding will do very little to prevent concussions. They’re going to have to start wearing those goofy looking helmets..good luck marketing those things!!

  28. teoco56 says: May 23, 2012 9:03 AM

    “It takes away from the speed of the game”–I am sure when he retires he will hop on the concussion bandwagon and sue. These guys can’t have it both ways.
    Last time I checked, they wear helmets to protect from concussions. You do realize that a concussion is from a blow to the head,not the knee Einstein!?!?! 😀

  29. Boxers wear gloves but it doesn’t prevent or minimize them getting concussions/knocked out.

    Pads on the thighs/knees will not lessen or prevent a concussion when a knee accidentally strikes a players helmet.

  30. every player who comes out and says “i won’t wear the pads” is making it harder for the former players suing over concussions. the nfl has immediate proof the culture of players when it comes to safety is to throw caution to the wind.

  31. rkblitz56: No, none of us ever played the game like YOU did. Please tell us some more stories about your glory days playing for the Western Saskatchewan State Fightin’ Fart-Sniffers!

  32. “It takes away from the speed of the game,” Bartell said.
    That’s the point. It reduces the risk of concussions. Some of these players are not very bright.

  33. GG Eden- show me the statistics that show that just as many injuries happen from bare fist punches to the head than gloved fists, since you have them I guess.

  34. Also, even IF it does reduce the speed of the game, it affects every player on the field so no one is really at a disadvantage, and I don’t think it will be enough for the average fan to even notice.

  35. Like saying – “People die in car crashes even with seatbelts on, so seat belts don’t help.”

  36. Just another way players blow money on bumb things. Why would anyone want to give money away for doing something so simple?

    Im sure he will be broke 3 years after football is over wishing he could get that fine money back

  37. GG Eden says:May 23, 2012 10:04 AM

    Boxers wear gloves but it doesn’t prevent or minimize them getting concussions/knocked out.

    Pads on the thighs/knees will not lessen or prevent a concussion when a knee accidentally strikes a players helmet.

    Are you actually this dumb?

  38. Not quite like the seat-belt analogy.

    These thigh/knee pads are being touted as preventative measures against concussions, not against soft tissue injuries to those regions. Players wear helmets and shoulder-pads for the same reason, to minimize concussions. But helmet to helmet hits and shoulder to helmet hits still produce concussions. With or without the safety device.

    The point is, football is a high impact sport. If someone’s head strikes another’s knee or hip at high velocity, it will cause a concussion or concussion-like symptoms.

    The only way to minimize such injuries is to take the impact out of the sport….which NO ONE wants.

  39. Another guy who will be bankrupt a couple year out of the league. $5000 X 16 games = $80,000 per year in fines. He’ll miss that later on.

  40. Sure it’s only knee and hip pads today. Tomorrow it’ll be helmets and shoulder pads. What a second…

    That’s why the games are slow. And they thought it was all of the unnecessary replays.

  41. “Minimize” and “prevent” are different things, and that’s the difference in what you are saying and what I am saying.

    Bottom line is, for some reason, they make kids wear these pads when we grow up playing the game. It would logically follow that any importance whatsoever that is deemed to be attached to this would not diminish as the players become older bigger faster stronger. So the pads should be worn simply because of that.

    If we can tell high school and b-squad players that the pads don’t need to be worn, then I’ll think it’s a good idea not to wear them. One charlie horse prevented by a knee to the thigh pad is enough to say that these pads minimize injury.

  42. #1 – Ron Bartell is making a big assumption that he will even play.

    #2 – Will leg pads slow players down? Maybe, but if they are ALL wearing leg pads, the playing field is even once again. WTF?

    #3 – Seems like a lot of players have voiced some major concerns about the NFL not taking enough action to protect players from injuries. Now, when the NFL takes protective action, the players fight it? I thought these guys had college degrees.

  43. The Raiders defensive playersought to be happy about mandatory knee pads, this way they can more comfortably knee opposing players in their heads when on the ground and the ref isn’t looking. JUST WIN BABY! (from a die-hard Raider fan)

  44. Ron first of all you will do what your employer tells you to or you will be fired. Welcome to the real world coddeled athelete. See you in the arena league or CFL…bye-bye.

  45. iluvnfl says: May 23, 2012 9:12 AM

    This is just ridiculous. First of all, tearing an acl IS a soft tissue injury.

    Second, the leg pads are not to prevent torn acls… they are to soften the impact when people get kneed (be it in the head, leg, arm, etc.). Good thing for all.


    Ligaments and tendons are connective tissue and not included amongst soft tissues such as skin, muscle, and subcutaneous fat…..

  46. First of all have any of you ever played football? Now has anyone ever played without knee pads? It’s a big difference, trust me I know. I understand the players being pissed.

  47. The players should have no voice in this the employer has the voice. Some players are claiming they didn’t know repeated blows to the head could lead to problems after football. Ya right the players know best!

  48. sorry but ur not a true football fan if u dont even know who ron bartell is. secondly u never played football if ur complaining about the players complaining about this

  49. Way to tell em Ron! What the heck do billionaires know about running the most popular sport in the world, and one that generates over $9 billion a year? Oh, wait a second…

  50. I love when people try to sound tough when say they are absolutely not ging to do something when in reality we all know they absolutely will. Shut up Bartell.

  51. If the players are arguing that it will slow them down and that soft tissue injuries are the only ones that will be prevented, then, should they be injured (thigh bruise, hip injury, etc. non-orthopedic), they should immediately be docked their salary duirng their recovery period. A few thousand dollars worth of fines have been shown to do nothing, withholding gamechecks will make these so-called “tough-guys” buckle quickly I imagine

  52. Another Raider moron! No wonder the Raider fans relate. Good thing no IQ test for either Raider or the sorry nation!

  53. @pantherpro: You are quite the RAIDER hater. It takes a special team with a rich tradition to stir up that kind of ire.

    For instance, I don’t think twice about your panthers. It’s an expansion team compared to the RAIDERS.

  54. The NFL has allowed these players to think they are more important than the game. If they don’t want to follow the rules send them home.

  55. i can see it now….class action lawsuit for “thigh contusions” and the league failed to do anything about the bruises. C,mon commish…this is the nfl, let the men be men. Nobody put a gun to their head and said they had to play football.

  56. So the usual cast of haters on here are commenting that a player should a)shut up and play b)give into the demands of management c)not sue for any post-career health issues d)some variation of the above.


    …will still have their collective feelings hurt when NFL player express their disregard for fans.

    Lots of whiny sniveling going on here.

    Fans opinions on what kind of equipment NFL players wear are 100% useless. Bartell has played in the NFL and knows what he’s talking about in regards to his choices in equipment.

    NFL is the most gangster organization in sports. You can slobber all over them and their greatness while at the same time bitching that the cost of going to a game or the Sunday Ticket is too high. Why? Because you’ve been suckered into believing the players are responsible for those high prices. They’re running the conservative political playbook chapter and verse on us and too many dummies are falling for it all over again.

  57. pantherpro says: May 23, 2012 1:29 PM

    Another Raider moron! No wonder the Raider fans relate. Good thing no IQ test for either Raider or the sorry nation!

    I see pantherpro is still giving himself a thumbs up every time he posts. It’s a good thing for him an IQ test isn’t required in order to comment on PFT.

  58. jhicks1116 says: May 23, 2012 9:10 AM

    Who the hell is Ron Bartell?

    Drafted in the second round of 2005 draft by St. Louis. Resigned to a 4 year, 28M contract in 2009. Broke his neck in the season opener in 2011, went on IR. Fisher didn’t want to pay 6.2M for a 30 year old guy coming off a broken neck, so he got cut, and Oakland picked him up. Capable guy, will never be confused with Revis.

  59. Bartell might just wanna save his $ as much as he because it won’t be because he is going to get fined its because he’s gonna get burnt on every play & he won’t have a job after this yr! RAIDER NATION REJECTS BABY!!!

  60. Perhaps lessening the impact of collisions by slowing the game down is the point.
    Harm reduction strategies generally address a host of variables, so surely the ever increasing pace of the game has been discussed. If that’s the intent of the knee pad renaissance then I’m all for it. Rather see a shift towards extra padding than a shift from field turf to sand.

  61. I guarantee that at least 90% of you responding have not played football past the high school level which warrents you no real experience to speak off of. Alot of these veterans that have been playing 5 6 7 years plus are used to not wearing knee pads. You all well know when a major change takes place after working a job for several years you do nothing but bitch to your fellow co-workers!! Everyone one of you would bitch! Concussions from a knee to a head is rare. Knee pads will not even stop that from happenin! Why!? Because the players all have their pants rise above their knee cap so therefor the knee pads wouldn’t even cover the knee!! Players do wear leg pads and those are the players that are on the front 7, the guys that see the most contact. DB’s don’t wear leg pads, especially cornerbacks because they rarely if ever get hit in their legs. So the players that are most likely to experience knee to head contact are already wearing leg pads.

    I understand the NFL is trying to make this a safer game but setting an example!? All other levels don’t have a choice so that’s irrelivent.

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