With the implementation of the targeting penalty in the NFL, defensive backs are resorting to lower hits to break up passing plays. The recent ACL and MCL tear sustained by Patriots’ tight end Rob Gronkowski after Cleavland safety T.J. Ward drove his helmet into Gronk’s knee shows how the NFL has traded one evil for another with this new penalty. Knee injuries are up approximately 60% from where they were two years ago. Some radical thinkers have suggested removing the helmets from football to have the game played in the same manner as rugby; a more cooperative effort of players on the field to avoid head contacts given the understanding of repercussions on both ends. A tough concept to imagine, but even former player Hines ward believes that “if you want to prevent concussions, take the helmet off. Play old-school football with the leather helmets, no facemask” since players will use helmets as a weapon as long as they understand that their own well-being is relatively preserved.
Antwaan Randle El filed suit independently against the NFL in Manhattan recently, alleging that the NFL “has done everything in its power to hide the issue and mislead players”. Professor at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Timothy Epstein, comments on the suits being filed outside of the settlement: “all these other lawsuits that are popping up, what they’re saying is, ‘This settlement is not going to fairly compensate my client. We think we can get a better deal,’ ” and if enough of these get filed a Judge could require the NFL to readdress the issue.
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