NFLPA leg-pad comments could open a new can of worms


Lost in the aftermath of the NFLPA’s decision to sue the NFL for collusion occurring in 2010 was the debate regarding the question of whether players should be required to wear thigh pads and knee pads.

By way of summary, the NFL decided on Tuesday that thigh and leg pads will be required as of 2013.  The union believes it first must agree to the change, and plenty of players have griped about it.

During a Thursday press conference held outside NFLPA headquarters, executive director DeMaurice Smith briefly addressed the leg-pad controversy.

“I understand the position that the league took and announced the other day on hip pads and thigh pads,” Smith said, via Mark Maske of the Washington Post.  “It does seem somewhat ironic to me that there’s been discussions about hip pads and thigh pads and I frankly don’t remember one conversation about how we can develop a better mouthpiece or whether we should have uniform helmet standards in the National Football League.  If the league wants to focus on hip pads and thigh pads right now, I think I understand why. . . .  On a day when they want to talk about hip pads and thigh pads, I’m well aware of the discussions that we haven’t had.”

Actually, the NFL should be talking about developing a better mouthpiece and establishing uniform helmet standards.  But if the NFL were to mandate the use of mouthpieces and specific types of helmets, the players would react even more loudly than they are to the issue of leg pads.  Many players don’t and won’t wear mouthpieces, and plenty more refuse to embrace new helmet designs and technologies.

It therefore wouldn’t be a surprise to see the NFL take De Smith up on his offer, which could back the union into a corner and, if the NFLPA resists, demonstrate to the media, the fans, and all potential jurors in the pending and future concussion cases that players have little or no regard for their own safety, health, and well-being.

24 responses to “NFLPA leg-pad comments could open a new can of worms

  1. Typical De, move the goalposts when cornered. Sigh.

    I would love to hear David Cornwell on here talking about this stuff. I saw him tweet a couple comments recently that lead me to believe he’d have some different perspective.

  2. Misdirection, half-truths, signs of rhetoric. I don’t think I like or trust the NFLPA.

  3. If it would make the game safe why not wear the stuff the league choose after talking to the union, to hear what some of the older players going though it should be a no brain er.

  4. It isn’t about whether the move to mandating new padding is right or not…it only matters if they clear it with the union or not? That is beyond ridiculous. If your job requires you to wear a certain amount of personal protective equipment then you cannot say no…. Or we get lawsuits like we are seeing with the concussions De Smith is only concerned with the flexing of union muscle. What a buffoon! Replace this guy!

  5. Well played NFL. Perfect timing too, allows De Smith enough time to make a fool out of the union and help the NFL gain positioning for the current concussion case(s).

  6. Nothing is ever about safety with these people. It is all about money and power. Safety is only a PR tool for both the NFLPA and the NFL.

  7. This assumes the NFL is smart enough to make that move. So far, they haven’t shown that type of shrewness. Would love to see it though, so the players can see just how incompetent this litigator is as a “leader” of their union

  8. themonster49 says:
    May 27, 2012 12:56 PM
    Misdirection, half-truths, signs of rhetoric. I don’t think I like or trust the NFLPA.


    The exact same thing can be said about Roger Goodell

  9. There is actually a company in Traverse City, MI that makes a new mouthpiece that is supposed to reduce these types of injuries. I read about it in the paper. The technologies are out there for those interested in finding them…

  10. When I chose not to wear thigh pads or knee pads it was purely aesthetic. Don’t think for a minute it’s not the same thing for the players. With their argument of pads slowing them down they may aswell take off the helmets and shoulder pads (around 15 pounds) compared to a girdle with hip,butt,thigh and knee pads (almost a pound) I’m sure Clay Matthews’ hair weighs more than that.

  11. De Smith’s reputation has fallen so low that people no longer ask “Would you buy a used car from this man?”. They ask, “Would you buy a brand new car with a written lifetime warranty, from this man?’.

  12. I assume players will not wear knee pads, then later sue the NFL because they have messed up knees.

  13. if theyd have the players wear certain helmets, a lot of lobbyism would be going on. i think its much better to let the players choose their helmets. not every head fits every helmet. my brothers loves is revo speed, while went back to my old revo because the revo speed was really uncomfortable.

  14. When you see the pads the NFL is making them wear, you will laugh.

    It’s the most unobtrusive thing I’ve ever seen. We aren’t talking about high school pads. They are very small and they are a very advanced material design.

  15. What I just don’t understand is why this is all such a big deal to these players in the NFL, because the pads were required in college, so why is it a problem now?

  16. “Many players don’t and won’t wear mouthpieces, and plenty more refuse to embrace new helmet designs and technologies.”

    And of course there is a solid reference for these facts, but OMG just forgot to provide the link.

  17. De Smith represents the beginning of the end of the NFL’s rule at the top of the American sports world. It will go the way of boxing, horse racing, and baseball. Who sold the players on this guy anyway?

  18. thegreatgabbert says:
    May 27, 2012 1:45 PM
    DeAssclown Smith does a double reacharound to pull the lowest common denominator card out of his butt.


    If DeSmith played hard ball and forced a suspension of the 2011 season, you’d want his head on a platter….

    just stop it , already.

  19. There has been an advancement in oral protection used by the N.E. Patriots for over two decades. One Harvard expert suggests these orthodontic appliances help reduce the dings, dizziness, stingers and headache, symptoms of temporam mandibular joint dysfunction. Robert Cantu has proposed a jaw blow theory like those in boxing and related symptoms of mtbi and concussion. The only correlation known is the boxers glass jaw, why do only some boxers become prone and why do these same boxers develop CTE or pugilistica dementia. He and Dr. Kutcher are simply saying, there is no published data showing that a mouth guard can help. That does not mean it won’t work, it’s only saying, the proper research studies have yet to be done. I say, let’s get to it. Oral appliances designed to reduce symptoms of Temporal mandibular joint dysfunction may hold the key. The attached is preliminary data with H.S. athletes in the Boston area. It was published in the academy of sports dentistry referring journal, accepted for presentation at the 08 FIFA conference and peer reviewed by Dr. Jeffery Shaefer a cranial facial expert at Harvard/MGH. The U.S. Army is now investigating the data in the link below.

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