Doug Whaley: “Poor choice of words” to say humans shouldn’t play football

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Bills General Manager Doug Whaley made some headlines on Tuesday when he said during a radio interview that football is “a violent game that I personally don’t think humans are supposed to play.”

It was an odd position for a man charged with fielding a team of humans to play football to make while answering a question about wide receiver Sammy Watkins being injury prone. Hearing that from a team executive was particularly jarring at a time when the NFL is working hard to make the case that they are making the game a safer one.

On Wednesday, Whaley hewed more closely to that party line while walking back what he said the previous day.

“Clearly I used a poor choice of words in my comment yesterday morning,” Whaley said in the statement. “As a former player who has the utmost respect and love for the game, the point that I was trying to make is that football is a physical game and injuries are a part of it. Playing football no doubt is very physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging, and that is all part of what make the game so compelling to play and watch. The game has more protection for players now than ever, thanks largely to the safety advancements and numerous rule changes made by our league and promoted to all levels of football. I believe our game continues to have a bright future and I hope that this statement provides clarity as to the intent of my earlier comment.”

The brightness of Whaley’s future with the Bills will have plenty to do with how the team fares this season, making the health of the human beings he brought to Buffalo of paramount importance.

54 responses to “Doug Whaley: “Poor choice of words” to say humans shouldn’t play football

  1. I see nothing wrong with his statement. Humans aren’t built for the kind of physical punishment that football causes.
    But players make a conscious CHOICE to play the game. They SIGN the contract. So if they get hurt, oh well, they KNOW the risks going in yet they signed anyway.
    I’m sick of the media demanding that employers be “nannies” for their employees. If the risk of short-term, or long-term injury is prohibitive, then DON’T sign the contract and get a job at McDonald’s while they still have humans working for them.

  2. Wiseman once said its better to be quiet and be thought as dumb than to speak up and remove all doubt.

  3. When I think of poor choice I think about living in that loser city Toronto with all those crappy sports teams and no NFL. That is the definition of poor choice.

  4. Where is the controversy here? Did people seriously not understand the meaning of his original statement? Surprise, the human body is not designed to be a battering ram. Duh. Just because we all love football doesn’t mean that it doesn’t subject your body to a lot of damage that it wasn’t really designed to sustain, which results in frequent serious injuries.

    Some people are way too desperate to have something to be upset about. His original comment was sort of an odd way to phrase it, but the meaning and validity of it are obvious.

  5. Whaley’s choice of words were less than ideal, but his underlying sentiments remain true. The human body is not built to withstand the impacts involved in a collision sport.

    Athletes who love the great(est) sport of football choose to accept the risks. Some don’t. Robert Edwards and Chris Borland are a couple that come to mind. That’s okay. Edwards and Borland are free to hang ’em up, and it’s hard to begrudge them. No bad on either of those guys.

    But lots of guys who’ve played football LOVE the game. It’s so much fun, and it’s a test of so many things (strength, speed, savvy, baiting, misdirection, fortitude, explosion, technique, etc.).

    For so many reasons, it is the best game ever devised by man – and Whaley’s word choice was admittedly inflammatory in a world where the media is very easily inflamed.

  6. He was right! Doesn’t mean he hates football.

    Humans shouldn’t fly either but that doesn’t stop us from getting on airplanes all the time.

  7. He was right.

    Just like you could say that humans aren’t supposed to throw a ball overhand at 90+ MPH for 2-3 hours every 5 days.

  8. kferguson2002 says:
    May 25, 2016 1:15 PM

    Just when I thought we had it the worst with Ryan Grigson…
    ________________________

    Oh don’t worry, you do.

  9. Why are people losing their minds over this? He clearly meant that humans aren’t “built” to play football. It’s obviously that slow time of year.

  10. Everyone agrees to things. That’s why the commissioner could suspend Tom Brady, for instance, because the NFLPA agreed to the CBA. I am a reporter myself, and it angers me how many of my fellow reporters make everything controversial these days. If players continue to play this game, of their own free will and choice, things will not change. Everyone has all the knowledge they need right now. If they choose to play anyway, it’s their choice. Nevertheless, when choices are made, consequences are affixed and you cannot change them. That’s how this world works.

  11. I’ve been a Bills fan since 1970, we are a terrible franchise, we’ll never win a SB

  12. To the first poster about pitching. Correct, most people do not know that As matter of fact just throwing over hand goes against anything the arm was designed to do. Even though most QBs are taught to throw that way , it’s a lot less stressful on the joints vs what a major league pitcher is required to do. Thanks for the post.

  13. It’s funny that a GMs way of deflecting away from his diva glass receiver is to defend him by saying all players are designed to injure during the sport. Way to stand up for a mistake, throw your future hiring potential away.

  14. Whaley is of course right, but you just can’t say something like that when you’re in the position he is in. The fact that Whaley is doubling back on what he said today tells me quite a bit about what’s going on behind the scenes in Bills HQ. I can’t imagine he’s in any less hot water than he was before.

  15. Whaley should have spoken like this “If you played high school football, and 4-5 years of college football, then you have a high likelihood of developing CTE if you play pro football”.

    Let’s not blame everything on the NFL since players have played anywhere from 4-8 years (if not more) of football BEFORE they even got to the NFL. Players have had plenty of concussions, major and minor, before ever entering the NFL. So let’s STOP blaming the NFL for all the concussions, CTE, etc.

  16. billswillnevermovesays says:
    May 25, 2016 1:24 PM

    When I think of poor choice I think about living in that loser city Toronto with all those crappy sports teams and no NFL. That is the definition of poor choice.
    ______________________________

    Toronto has one more professional sports team than Buffalo, and the Sabres/Bills trophy cabinets aren’t exactly lined with championship trophies.

    Leafs have 13 Stanley Cups, how many does the Sabres have?
    29 chances and Zero Cups.

    Reminds of another Buffalo team. Maybe you’ve heard of them? The Bills?

    Those in glass houses, etc etc

  17. Talk about overblown what was so wrong at what he said? The human body isn’t built to take hits these guys do. Yes they are putting their own lives on the line but nothing he said here was wrong.

  18. I was watching a football game with my grandfather in the 1970s, he basically said the same exact thing. It’s obvious to anyone who has eyes.

  19. I officiated youth and high school football. There were many times where I would see a kid’s body get torqued, contorted, folded and hit in areas, including the head. I would think kids, especially younger ones were designed to play football. Period!

    But as someone said, it’s a choice. I played through my freshman year of high school and I love watching the game.

  20. Living in Buffalo and enduring the winters can freeze the rational parts of the brains of lesser folks.

    All kidding aside, I’d have to agree with some of the posters who have said that the sport is on borrowed time. With all of the information coming to light about CTE, along with the other long term issues, there are going to be more and more parents who aren’t going to allow their kids to play.

    I’m not a hockey fan, but given how physical of a sport, what are the long term effects for their players? Have their been any studies on CTE and other brain trauma?

  21. So are all the draft picks signing contracts this year going to be sueing the NFL in 25 years from now? They know the risk but they still take the money SMH!

  22. He’s right! Knees aren’t meant to handle 300lb men. Heads aren’t meant for collisions, etc. etc. They take the chances for money, and love of the game. As long as those two things apply, there will be football. So, get off the man’s back. He phrased it wrong. It’s not like any of us has never misspoken 🙂

  23. “there are going to be more and more parents who aren’t going to allow their kids to play”
    __________________________________

    Maybe when doctors, lawyers, and engineers all start getting paid millions of dollars after only two years of college……

  24. @jonwill57 says:
    May 25, 2016 3:32 PM

    Had to correct my previous post
    =============================
    I officiated youth and high school football. There were many times where I would see a kid’s body get torqued, contorted, folded and hit in areas, including the head. I would think kids, especially younger ones WERE NOT designed to play football. Period!

    But as someone said, it’s a choice. I played through my freshman year of high school and I love watching the game.

  25. It’s not just the Bills or just the Sabres, it’s Buffalo.

    If you live in Buffalo, you’re a loser. Plain and simple.

  26. Same here. It is definitely a choice as I personally have knees that feel about 20 years older than the rest of my body due to multiple injuries and surgeries from playing high school and college football. I consider it the price I had to pay for a $160k college education and don’t have a pay Sallie Mae back a single dime…….

  27. Humans aren’t supposed to drive cars either and it’s far more risky than playing football. But we like to go places, so we do. We can all sit around locked in our houses and get fat and die too. One common denominator. We ll are going to kick the bucket some day. Might as well live life doing something worthwhile!

  28. joetoronto says:
    May 25, 2016 5:15 PM

    It’s not just the Bills or just the Sabres, it’s Buffalo.

    If you live in Buffalo, you’re a loser. Plain and simple.

    ———–

    Harsh.

  29. No problem with Whaley. We know what he means. Humans weren’t designed to live in houses, or drive cars either. We were designed to fight dinosaurs. That seems a lot rougher than playing football.

  30. The fact is these players are playing not knowing the full risk to their brains. They aren’t making an informed choice whether to play the game or not. The NFL likes it that way so they can make billions a year off the battered bodies of these young men. The NFL goes out of its way to hide and downplay the risks to the brain from players.

  31. bullcharger says:
    May 25, 2016 5:25 PM
    joetoronto says:
    May 25, 2016 5:15 PM

    It’s not just the Bills or just the Sabres, it’s Buffalo.

    If you live in Buffalo, you’re a loser. Plain and simple.

    ———–
    bullcharger, being from Buffalo, I was thinking if Toronto had a rival team of there own, it’d be great. Listening to JToronto just makes me think of all his whining when they lose 🙂

  32. Not a poor choice of words, just a poor choice of eras in which to voice unpopular or even interesting opinions. You can’t say anything today in today’s hyper-sensitive PC climate. Freedom of speech is effectively dead. Conform to orthodoxy or die.

  33. At least another full year of the two clowns (Doug Whaley and Rex Ryan) and we Bills fans can only hope the owners fire them both January 2017.

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