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Major problems in the NFL PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, December 13, 2012 1:53 PM

The worst thing that could have happened to the National Football League did this week when former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue agreed with current Commish Roger Goodell about the New Orleans Saints Bountygate but disagreed that the players were the ones responsible.
Tagliabue claimed that it was the coaching staff and front office — front office? — that was responsible for cultivating a culture where the idea of intentionally trying to hurt opponents and knock them out of games could take hold.

Tagliabue vacated the suspensions handed out to Jonathon Vilma, Will Smith, Scott Fujita and Anthony Hargrove, which opens up a whole can of worms for the current commish.

Vilma is already intending to sue Goodell for defamation and one wonders if the other three — probably along with the NFL Players Association — won’t follow suit.

The Saints coaches had to serve their suspensions — and head coach Sean Payton is still serving his — and they are taking the full brunt of Tagliabue’s investigation.

They have said nothing. I am hoping that somewhere, a coach or two comes out swinging and puts the bulls-eye on Tagliabue.
I just find it hard to believe that the four players were simply helpless dupes in this process, that they were almost forced into this by conniving and evil coaches, and that the only thing they really did — under coaches’ orders — was to lie about what went on.

I know I have written in the past that I thought the process was flawed to begin with — that the current commish was the final arbiter for his own rulings, which set up a problem — but the players association and league agreed to it. In this day and age, that means something — or should.

I just think that, as some players have already been quoted as saying, it leaves Goodell in a very tough position; he has lost the credibility with the players and he needs that if he is going to lead this league through the minefields that are coming.

The concussion issue is coming more into focus with seemingly more and more retired players joining the lawsuit against the NFL.

The stories are heart-breaking, to say the least.

Along with this is an increasing trend toward addiction to painkillers — any and all of them — that is bedeviling many former players, partly due to having to take them when they played to keep going and now to deal with the constant pain they undergo with all the physical problems they now have.

Then there is the newest story about Toradol, a very powerful but supposedly non-addictive painkiller that is of growing use among NFL players.

However, by what I have heard and read about it, it’s only supposed to be used for five days because it does have some rough side effects now — such as the lessened ability to feel pain — and years down the road.


So much so that there is a lawsuit from ex-players about its use.

It must be powerful enough that teams and their doctors have asked players to sign waivers about its use and the NFLPA has filed a grievance over this.

If this is to help prevent a potentially dangerous drug from getting into the hands of players, good for them. But if this is just an opportunity to allow players to get this drug now and then, years later, still sue the NFL for prescribing it, I have a problem with that.
Adderall is another problem. It’s common enough to use in treating attention-deficit disorder, a legitimate use; unfortunately, it can also be used as a performance-enhancer or for other reasons that the NFL deems a no-no.

Patriots’ defensive lineman Jermaine Cunningham was suspended four games after testing positive for it.
What all this can mean is more and more lawsuits — “what did the NFL know and when did they know it?” kind of thing — and, as I’ve written before, this may be the beginning of the end for the NFL.

After all, you read about people trying to limit — if not completely eliminate — football for younger people.

If you get rid of football at the lower levels, then colleges will eventually suffer the consequences.

If that were to happen, the NFL is next.
Let’s hope all this gets dealt with.
Speaking of which, if you are the Dallas Cowboys, how do you deal with a teammate (Josh Brent) that killed another teammate (Jerry Brown) — a passenger in his car — because he was intoxicated?

This is unlike the Kansas City Chiefs when a teammate committed murder-suicide right in front of family members and coaches.
Likely, Brent’s career is over because I imagine he will go to jail and the league will not allow him to play again after that process is over but could you look at a teammate like that the same way ever again?
RIP, Mr. Brown.


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