NFLPA president wants Rams fined for Case Keenum debacle


The NFL has decided not to fine the Rams for the failure to get quarterback Case Keenum off the field when it was obvious that he was concussed. The NFL Players Association disagrees with that outcome. Strongly.

“Show me someone that says, ‘No, the Rams did exactly the right thing.’ They didn’t,” Winston told USA Today. “Everybody knows they didn’t. So, there has to be discipline then, right? Because when a player doesn’t do something that he’s supposed to do, he gets fined for that when it comes to health and safety.”

Winston makes a good point. When players fail to do something that the league expected them to do, the league doesn’t make excuses for the players or say “next time, you’ll be fined.” The league imposes discipline, swiftly and without hesitation.

“There was no grace period for players,” Winston said, referring to the renewed emphasis on helmet-to-helmet hits on defenseless players from 2010. “It was, ‘Immediately change, or you’re going to be fined.’ All of a sudden, stuff that was legal isn’t legal. And we understand why. There wasn’t a fight against it. But all of a sudden that became not only illegal, but fined immediately. While these protocols have now been around for years, [teams are] still not being fined.”

ESPN’s Mark Schlereth, a former player, was even more critical of the league and the Rams in a Wednesday interview with CBS Sports Radio 920 in St. Louis.

“I thought it was a systemic failure throughout the whole organization when it comes to the handling of Case Keenum,” Schlereth said. “You essentially put a player’s life in danger. The thing that I was really upset about and really angry about is that the NFL didn’t do anything about it. I went through all the fines that have been levied out . . . almost a million dollars on the season so far tallied up for football players playing football and yet here we have a kid who was knocked unconscious. And all the things that we’ve put in place to protect our players, every one of them failed.”

Schlereth also took issue with the team’s position that the coaching staff didn’t notice Keenum’s predicament.

“For Jeff Fisher to say ‘Hey, I was in game-management mode,’ that’s an absolute bold-face lie,” Schlereth said. “It’s ludicrous.”

While it’s entirely possible that Fisher personally didn’t notice that Keenum was in distress, a member of the training staff did — and that person inexplicably left Keenum in the game. The “confluence of events” excuse that has resulted in no one being blamed overlooks the reality that, based on the end result, everyone should have been blamed — from the Rams to the game officials to the ATC spotter to even the teammate who helped a clearly impaired Keenum off the field and didn’t personally escort him to the sidelines.

If the procedure moving forward is that, if this happens again, everyone will indeed be held accountable, that should have been the procedure in the Keenum case.

34 responses to “NFLPA president wants Rams fined for Case Keenum debacle

  1. NFL has no clue as to what they’re doing. Damn skippy the Rams should be fined and huge!

  2. The Rams fined for bollocking the Case Keenum matter? The resurrection of Matt Millen as a GM is more likely.

  3. I’m no Jeff Fisher fan but…this was the league’s failure..that is why they added the medical personnel that is supposed to watch the game for signs of injury. The league is at fault here..Fisher was just going by the rules that if the league didnt stop play and take him off the field, he would just assume that everythings ok

  4. That’s 100 percent sickening. Maybe the players that whiffed on their blocks should be fined too.

  5. Punishing the team for such an egregious mistake — either by substantial fines or the loss of draft picks — might finally change the culture of keeping players in when they are very likely to have suffered a concussion. Until then, key players are going to be kept in as long as they say they’re still good to go, even though a player with a concussion is the worst possible person to ask if they’re still healthy enough to play.

  6. The players are in a union and bound by a contract. The teams (management) are not a union, thus the rules are flexible for the way upper management handles them. Your union colored glasses are impairing your vision Mike.

  7. So where was the League spotter? I thought they put an “independent” person there to assess and remove any player who was thought to have been concussed. You could see the stars and tweety birds circling his head.

    And yes, if this were a Pats player we’d be hearing about paid off refs.

  8. NO Mr. Smith! You, and the NFLPA cannot play the double standard game where if one of your players is exposed to risks by the NFL, you make a huge fuss.

    BUT, when one of your players commit a crime that puts their employers, the NFL team and the NFL itself, at risk, you are utterly silent.

    I hope the media exposes the truth about the NFLPA. They WANT the players exposed to risks so that they can sue the NFL, and thus reign in legal fees like crazy.

  9. The league had the absolute worst response at the worst time. If the NFL and its executives had approval ratings and “trust” and “direction” polls like in politics, I would suspect Goodell and the shield are at an all-time low in everything. Does anybody respect or trust the league office anymore? Does anybody think they’re going to make things better, that they’re moving in the right direction?

  10. This was not a failure of the system. It was an intentional dismissal of the system in the interest of winning.

    The whole concussion protocol system is a sham and was only created because the league got sued.

    Winning and money are still the main goals; NOT player safety.

  11. While I rarely agree with the player’s union, or any union for that matter, they are absolute right in this case. The handling of this injury was ridiculous. No discipline from the league is hypocrisy at its best.

  12. I really don’t have anything against the Rams/Jeff Fisher (yet) but I totally agree with the NFLPA on this one. I was watching that game, and couldn’t believe nothing was being done on Keenum’s behalf.

    Nothing. Zero Zip Zilch Nada. By anyone.

    Do we need to have the TV game announcers have a direct line to the game officials to help a guy out in Keenum’s situation? (sarcasm)

    Disgraceful, to say the least.

  13. I don’t understand how the ATC spotter wasn’t fired over this. This is their only job and they majorly failed at it.

  14. I remember when I was young, back in the mid-to-late 80s, working for a company that was a custom fabricated material supplier for a large construction project in Chicago. Our company had never done business with this contractor before; a large portion of our customer base was with contractors for which we had long established relationships, ones that you could do a handshake deal with.

    So one day I was talking with the project manager of the Chicago project, and during the conversation he said “Mr. X (owner of construction company) never enters into a contract without expecting to go to full litigation”. As a young man learning a business, it was an eye-opener for me. I’ve never forgotten those words.

    It seems to me that is how 345 Park Avenue enters into their decision making process. It’s all about assigning blame for future litigation. Players….you get fined, you’re causing harm to other players. Teams….well we don’t want to blame you if we can avoid it.

    I’d like to know… it realistic to look forward to a day when 345 Park Avenue can get more decisions right than wrong?

  15. Get serious. We’re talking about Jeff Fisher here. He’s untouchable. Six winning seasons out of 21 and still employed? Unbelievable. Fisher will only be punished if he allows it.

  16. What does the CBA say on this matter? Since the NFLPA loves to hide behind the CBA when they defend the egregious behavior of the players at this point I only care about what’s in the CBA, when it comes to defending the health and safety of the players.

  17. chicagobtech says:
    Dec 3, 2015 9:36 AM

    What does the CBA say on this matter? Since the NFLPA loves to hide behind the CBA when they defend the egregious behavior of the players at this point I only care about what’s in the CBA, when it comes to defending the health and safety of the players.

    345 Park Avenue wants to hire you. They’ll even make a new position if one doesn’t already exist.

  18. It shows the NFL really does not care about player safety. It is just a fact, but then again they never have. You cannot have the game being stopped at a critical moment for a player safety issue. Sad, but true.

  19. Even though Fisher claims to not be concerned about his job and future, he is full of b.s. He left Keenum in the game because he thought it was their best chance to win the game and in doing so he was doing whatever he could to save his job. There’s no excuse for the Rams not be severely punished.

  20. How absolutely *everyone*–Rams’ coaches, refs, the ATC spotter–missed this is inexcusable. Actually, I’m quite sure they *didn’t* miss it; they just wanted to keep going.

    Integrity of the game, right Commish?

  21. paulrevereshorse1775 says:
    Dec 3, 2015 10:01 AM

    345 Park Avenue wants to hire you. They’ll even make a new position if one doesn’t already exist.

    I chuckled, upvoted your comment. And while some of my original comment was tongue-in-cheek, some of it was serious.

    We’ve seen the NFLPA appeal cases where the NFL overreached on punishment. Take the Greg Hardy case. Pretty obvious that his girlfriend was on the receiving end of his anger, so the NFL dropped a ten game suspension on him. It was reduced to four games, the arbitrator cited the punishment laid out by the CBA being the reason for the reduction.

    We’ve also seen the NFLPA appeal suspensions based on player safety matters. The PA appealed the suspensions that came out of the New Orleans bounty investigation. They were also going to appeal Albert Haynesworth’s five game suspension for stomping on the head of Andre Gurode, however Haynesworth’s announcement that he did not want the suspension appealed tied the hands of the PA.

    So the NFLPA uses the CBA to its fullest extent. Given that the CBA is pretty much the only weapon the PA has in its arsenal (save for a walkout), I don’t blame them for using it. However they cannot pick and choose aspects of it as they see fit. If the PA wants to make sure things like the concussion spotters are used, with financial punishments to be used against teams who do not use the spotters, the PA can collectively bargain that into the CBA. Doesn’t have to be when the current CBA expires, it can be done now. The question for the PA becomes this: “Are you willing to give something up in exchange for this new addition to the CBA?”

  22. Fine Goodel $1M for lack of institutional control. On second thought make that $11M as he is a $44M a year man! This is bigger than a Rams problem.

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