NFL knows it must reconsider accountability for hiding and faking injuries

NFL: FEB 05 Super Bowl 50 - Walter Payton Man of the Year Press Conference
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The NFL publicly has had nothing to say about the news that quarterback Tom Brady played the entire 2020 season with a torn MCL in his knee without the Buccaneers ever disclosing the injury. Privately, the NFL recognizes the potential problems that can arise from teams violating the injury report.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the league realizes that it must reconsider the degree of accountability when it comes to the hiding and/or faking of injuries. Last year, the league had a handful of situations involving failure to report injuries, and at least two situations where the league identified the faking of an injury during games.

The league has approached these matters with less and less transparency, refraining from making it known to the world that its teams lie and cheat when it comes to injuries. Put simply, the league doesn’t want those who may regulate (or prosecute) responsible persons to realize how widespread the problem is. The league nevertheless knows that it must insist on greater compliance in order to prevent future problems with politicians or prosecutors, and that could result (sooner or later) in the league-imposed penalties increasing for violations — along with a more aggressive effort by the league to enforce infractions.

Flipping widespread violations to uniform compliance will require a dramatic shift in the culture of secrecy that prompts teams to keep opponents in the dark when it comes to the true health or lack thereof of its players. The Buccaneers understandably hid Brady’s knee injury to keep defensive players from “testing” the knee. One hit, intentional or accidental (or “accidental”), could have ended the season for Brady and, in turn, for the team.

Thus, it won’t be easy to get teams to embrace the importance of transparency and accuracy regarding injury information. It’s nevertheless critical to do so. Without compliance, inside information exists. Gamblers will try to find it. Persons who have it could be contacted and potentially corrupted for it. Those relationships could grow, and what began as an effort to obtain inside information regarding the health of a given player could expand. Eventually, depending on the role of the person involved, efforts could be undertaken to shave points or rig a prop bet.

Put simply, inside information becomes the potential gateway for gamblers to infiltrate the sport. It already may be happening. It possibly has been happening for years. As legalized sports betting spreads, however, a renewed urgency emerges to create a clear and potent firewall. That begins with eliminating inside information when it comes to injury, and thus making the pursuit of inside information fruitless.

Of course, other types of inside information will remain. That’s why the league must be concerned not only about minimizing inside information but also about protecting the inside information that exists. It’s one of the biggest current threats to the integrity of and public confidence in the game of professional football, because the legitimization of sports gambling puts public skin directly into the game — and that will invite public officials to take steps to ensure that the millions of dollars in hard-earned money now legally wagered on games won’t be undermined by shenanigans driven by certain gamblers and facilitated by certain players and/or coaches.

37 responses to “NFL knows it must reconsider accountability for hiding and faking injuries

  1. If the NFL doesn’t throw the book at the Bucs for the lack of Brady injury reports, then why should any team take the injury reporting requirement seriously? A first and a fourth round pick penalty would send the message.

  2. What about the danger to the player. If a defense knows a great QB is barely making it, they will definitely take a shot at/dive at his knee every single play. 15 yards is nothing compared to trading out Brady for Bortles. Maybe the best way is to report injuries more like hockey where they would say Brady has a lower body injury.

  3. The injury report is only for gamblers and fantasy football. Let teams keep it quiet until game day but maybe move up the players out of the game time.

  4. If Johnny Unitas had an injured knee and you wanted to demand Deacon Jones know about it? I think I know his reply to that take.

  5. Injury transparency is one of the primary reasons I respected the NFL over other leagues such as the NHL which take childish and stupid measures to conceal injuries. It is childish and stupid to have a ‘win at any cost’ mentality, especially if the health of a human being is jeopardized in the endeavour. So I guess the NFL has entered the childish and stupid league. Too bad.

  6. Do people really think Tampa would sign a 42 year old Brady to a 2 year 50M contract, knowing he had a torn MCL? There is just no way they knew this.

    IMO, this is just a “Flu Game” scenario used to bolster Brady’s legend.

  7. Do they though? I just can’t get upset about a team not disclosing an injury that didn’t prevent a player from playing.

  8. Injury reports should be abolished. There is no legit reason other than to give the opponent a competitive advantage over you, which Im guessing is why the Bucs and Brady did not report. Tom Brady did not play like he had a tear in his knee. So what difference does it make, other than to encourage the other team to take a cheap shot. Brady protected himself and I will never fault a player for that.

  9. If a player is not in danger of missing a game, does it need to be reported? Alshon Jeffery played with a torn rotator cuff for most of 2017 and no one complained about that.

  10. Lesson learned: NEVER bet on professional sports! The insiders know about these injuries and we the average fan don’t

  11. Nfl players and coaches would never take advantage of a known injury knowledge to purposefully remove an opponent. Just ask Greg Williams!

  12. I don’t know but my eyes tell me Brady wasn’t limited, questionable or anything last year. Did you see him play? or am I missing something. so while he technically had an injury it did not effect his play. so if thats the case what repercussions should a team face?

    I had the same injury – it did not limit me in any significant way. I went about my business normally. The only limitation was doing a full squat which did not effect my game at all because of the position I played (similar to Brady). During the offseason I went and got scoped and was up walking in 3 days then 4 weeks of rehab and I could do a full squat

    MCL is not a big deal and by reading most of the comments most of you are not aware of this.

  13. It just seems like this is an issue now because it’s Brady and it’s a slow sports news time. Nobody cared much when Andrew Luck and Leveon Bell’s injuries weren’t reported and those actually affected practice and game availability.

  14. Mlb skirts around fake injuries for struggling players far worse in fear of losing them, pretty sad system to say the least.

  15. Luck wasn’t punished, Brees hid multiple injuries until after the season last year, Alshon Jeffrey hid injuries a couple of years ago, heck Peyton Manning hid concussions constantly. Players have a history in general of not reporting injuries. That information is only useful to Vegas and the opponents. Punishing teams for doing it won’t stop players from doing it. This is a non controversy that needs to go away.

  16. Since the player is also a party to this fraud then the player needs to be suspended as well. One game suspension for each failure to report an injury in addition to appropriate fines and loss of draft picks should clean this problem up quickly.

  17. The NFL doesn’t really care much because it had no real impact on the game. Whether Brady had a knee injury or not, there is no way the Chiefs were winning that game. Their offensive line couldnt stop Tampa whatsoever.

    And ultimately, it would have been up to Brady whether to play or not. And there is no way anyone is telling Brady he’s not playing.

    Also, Brady wasn’t the only Buccaneer that was hurting. Jordan Whitehead was playing with a completely torn labrum. Antonio Brown had a knee injury. Heck even Patrick Mahomes on the Chiefs was playing with a serious toe injury and needed surgery. What exactly is the threshold you want to set for when a player is forced to sit out a game? Because in football, by the time you reach the Super Bowl…EVERYONE is hurting.

  18. As others are saying, if the league doesn’t punish Tampa bay for not reporting Brady’s MCL tear, why should any other team report their injuries?

    Either enforce all instances of breaking that rule or get rid of the rule.

  19. Tom Brady is a known cheater, when is the NFL going
    to punish their golden boy?

  20. The NFL haven’t really ever punished teams for practice report violations, Big Ben’s elbow issue the rare exception…but It would be just like the NFL to make an example of the Buccaneers and Tom Brady.

  21. just put everyone on the injury report problem solved. Does anyone seriously believe every player on every team isnt dealing with some type of nagging injury? Brady played phenomenal last year 40 TDs 12 INTs. I love how all the whiners hate Brady. You must be miserable to hate the greatness of Brady

  22. If Brady can play all season without his injury being detected, it doesn’t make much sense to let the world know in January or February that he has it. It’s an extremely risky move for Tom but as a seasoned veteran QB, he obviously knew how to play with it without anyone noticing.

    A younger QB may not be able to pull it off but veterans have tons of experience playing with injuries all season.

    I can’t see any scenario where Tom or any QB, with a chance to go to the playoffs and SB, would let this news out if they thought they could control it, which Tom did.

  23. You crying ninnies saying throw the book at the Bucs waaa waaa waaa! Just a bunch of haters. So what! They didn’t list his knee injury. Maybe because the only reason it needs to be listed is for gambling. Or are you cry babies saying if our D Line knew he was hurt we would have attacked his knee?!? This means absolutely nothing about the play of the Bucs. I now know how Patriots fans felt. They scrutinize every tiny thing and try to make a story. What is everybody so upset about?? Now everyone is a damn expert on injury reports and how this is unfair, unfair to who? To your defense who would have cheap shotted the living hell out of him? Yeah that’s how I want my team to win take out the leg. Gregg Williams is proud of all of you

  24. Ding!! Ding!! Ding!! Ding!!
    And we have a winner folks.and The most logical, astute, comment Sense award goes to!!
    patsfan1818 says:
    July 19, 2021 at 7:19 pm
    Luck wasn’t punished, Brees hid multiple injuries until after the season last year, Alshon Jeffrey hid injuries a couple of years ago, heck Peyton Manning hid concussions constantly. Players have a history in general of not reporting injuries. That information is only useful to Vegas and the opponents. Punishing teams for doing it won’t stop players from doing it. This is a non controversy that needs to go away.

  25. What really matters is if the player practices during the week, or at least on Friday.

  26. And of course Brady could have just kept his mouth shut… but nope…just couldn’t help himself and contain the urge to burnish his image…” I played last season injured and still won the Super Bowl.”

  27. Do away with injury reports. They are about betting markets.

    Protect the players. Why let opposing teams know that a player is vulnerable to a hit.

  28. jrterrier5 says:
    July 20, 2021 at 9:11 am
    Do away with injury reports. They are about betting markets.

    Protect the players. Why let opposing teams know that a player is vulnerable to a hit.

    3 1 Rate This


    This has nothing to do with Tampa Bay cheating in 2020.

  29. Many posters — haters of all things Brady — make an unwarranted assumption: That the Buccaneers’ executives and coaches KNEW about Brady’s injury. Brady has his own trainer and training staff and can see doctors privately. There’s no evidence yet that Brady’s torn MCL was treated by the team’s doctors or training staff. None.

    On a related note: The torn MCL explains a couple of Brady’s more bizarre interceptions during the playoffs. On several occasions, with his protection breaking down, he simply flung the ball down field to avoid a hit, resulting in a couple of uncharacteristic, and easy, picks.

  30. How can a “gambler’s need to know” outweighs a player’s need to protect himself or a team’s need to protect its players? Bountygate was real, and it had a huge impact on the outcome of an important game. That’s something that can’t be hidden or glossed over. It very definitely has not been forgotten!Similarly, Burfict’s attempts to subtly re-injure players (clearly targeting known injuries) were also very real.

    Sorry, gamblers. Your not-so-esoteric need for “transparency” does not trump a team’s and a player’s common sense need for safety.

  31. Brady fan here. I do believe in some sort of fine. As I joked on another site, maybe the NFL can suspend Brady for 2 years but give him credit for the bogus deflategate punishment. Now that would be something I would support.

    I digress. There is another way of seeing this whole episode. So, the Brady haters say he ‘cheated’ or this or that. Well, then the flip side is that they acknowledge is played with a MCL injury or that he is a tough s.o.b.

    It’s the ole catch 22. Pick your poison.

  32. Look, doesn’t a player have to submit to a physical before being signed to a contract?

    It doesn’t surprise me that Brady kept things in house. He loves football. Even his hand injury was kept hush hush before the Jags game. The guy would do anything to play football. He is still playing right now about to be 44 years old. The guy is obviously tough as nails.

    Remember, it probably killed him to sit out that 2008 season. Remember deflategate…he fought that tooth and nail and it took a toll on his marriage.

    So my point is Brady wants to play at any cost. As his father stated one time…they are going to have to carry my son out on a stretcher to stop him from playing.

    Lastly, I think it’s pretty clear that this is more a Brady issue than Bucs issue. People now see an opportunity to try and stop Brady from playing plus clicks and storylines. It’s pretty much a minor issue except from a gambling and fantasy football perspective.

    I think the NFL basically ignores the noise because it’s the Bucs and not the Pats and that they do recognize they hosed Brady over deflategate.

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