In a decision that could have taken six hours and not six weeks, the league has imposed accountability on the Seahawks for the failure to keep quarterback Russell Wilson out of action until a concussion evaluation was performed on him in a Thursday night game against the Cardinals.
The NFL and NFL Players Association jointly have announced that the Seahawks have been fined $100,000 for failure to apply the concussion protocol to Wilson on November 9. Also, the Seattle coaching and medical staffs will be required to attending remedial medical training regarding the concussion protocol.
After taking an illegal hit to the jaw from Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby, Wilson exited the game at the direction of referee Walt Anderson. Wilson, while sitting down as the blue medical tent was being unfurled around him, got up, grabbed his helmet, and re-entered the game.
“Once it is determined that a medical examination is warranted, a player may only be cleared to return by the medical staff,” the joint statement explains. “Mr. Wilson’s return to the field without a sideline concussion evaluation was therefore in violation of the concussion protocol. Subsequently the team medical staff did examine the player and clear him per the protocol.”
The NFL and the NFLPA will update the protocol to instruct officials, teammates, and coaches to take the player directly to a member of the medical team for a concussion assessment. It’s an obvious tweak that already is implied by the very existence of the protocol, and via the application of common sense.
The $100,000 fine represents the maximum punishment for a first offense under the protocol. As the NFL and the NFLPA consider further changes to the protocol, perhaps they should consider making the penalty something more than, to a billion-dollar entity, the equivalent of a parking ticket.