Limiting violence doesn’t limit NFL’s product

Dante Geoffrey

Professional football is a sport that

generates a lot of excitement during the weekend, and a lot of time

to kill during the week.

That’s why the discussion of player safety and

the balance of entertainment and protection comes up about three

times a year.

Radio show hosts need something to talk about

during the days that fall between games, and every once in a while

they waste everyone’s time by making an argument out of a

non-issue.

This past NFL off-season saw the

implementation of a new rule designed to protect players. Not all

players, mind you, but “defenseless players” specifically.

Surprisingly to me, many people have a problem

with this.

Apparently protecting defenseless players is a

very controversial subject.

The rule, in summary, prevents defensive

players from launching their bodies into players who have left the

ground to catch a ball.

Opponents of the rule fear will take the

“footballness” out of football. I use a fake word because people

take this position enjoy using the word “football” as a noun,

adjective, adverb and exclamation.

Case in point: Fox analyst and former player

John Lynch’s affinity for saying things like “That guy does nothing

but make football plays!” and “That sure was a helluvu football

play right there!”

Thanks for the insight, John.

Unfortunately, that type of rhetoric promotes

the ignorant “I am man, I like football, pain is good!” mentality

plaguing the fan base.

Football is a sport mostly supported by men

who don’t know how to deal with their aggression issues. But c’mon,

can’t you guys see how ridiculous your argument is?

“I don’t want to limit the chances of severe

injury – it takes away from the integrity of the game!” the idiot

radio caller said.

People like that are why I sometimes struggle

with being a fan.

I understand the appeal of being a “purist” (I

hate the designated hitter, for example), but I also think “purist”

can be a B.S. term applied to one’s self in order to mask fear of

change.

Punishing players that hit defenseless

receivers will not ruin the game of football. It may take a season

for everyone to adjust, leaving fans and players alike to deal with

the “growing pains” that come along with changing the norm.

Remember when a little girl attending a hockey

game died after she was hit in the head by a puck that went into

the stands? Only after the incident did the NHL decide to put up

nets around the vulnerable spots on the rink.

Do we want to wait to see the day a diminutive

receiver like DeSean Jackson gets hit by Troy Polamalu so severely

he won’t be able to walk again? Or worse?

For once, a professional sport league is being

proactive instead of waiting for something horrible to happen. And

what do they get for thinking progressively? They get vilified by

short-minded cavemen (and women, I don’t want to make it seem like

I don’t think women are dumb too) who are too ignorant to

rationalize the situation.

The safety of fellow human beings is more

important than the amount of ego he/she attached to his/her

favorite team.

I know hard hits are the thing highlight reels

are made of, but no sane human is going to say, “Real shame about

that career-ending neck injury, but man, did you see that hit!?

THAT WAS AWESOME!”

Actually, there probably will be people like

that. But I don’t have to like them.

And the NFL is right not to try to appeal to

them. 

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Dante Geoffrey can be reached at 

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