Richard Sherman: NFL Still Only Pretends To Care About Head Injuries

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

Unfortunately for the life expectancies of NFL players, Richard Sherman again felt the need to reiterate that the league is doing next to nothing to protect its workforce from concussions.

And that was before an Elvis Dumervil hit temporarily rendered Houston Texans quarterback Tom Savage shook, literally.

“No, the league hasn’t done much outside of appeasing public opinion,” Sherman told Esquire last week. “Now, you get a hard hit, fine players a bunch of money, suspend guys. But it’s more punishing players than it is player safety, and putting more money into league charities, et cetera. It’s not really changing the game or making it more safe. Obviously there are still players going back into the game after head injuries and after huge collisions. Guys go unreported. But to appease public opinion, and to make the fans continue to watch the game and the product, they went out and made all these rules. Now we have a guy on the sideline. That’s not for safety, that’s for public opinion.”

Savage isn’t the only player the NFL’s concussion protocol failed to protect. In Week 10, Sherman’s teammate Russell Wilson was also allowed onto the field after his taking a shot to the head and obviously not succumbing to protocol.

In the same interview, Sherman cited games on Thursday—just four days after having played a game of arguably the most physically grueling American team sport—as evidence that the league is more interested in money than players’ health, both in the short and long term.

“I know the risk coming out on the field every day, but I took issue with them years ago,” Sherman said. “I think they [the NFL decision-makers] make it abundantly clear what their priorities are, and obviously safety is not one of their priorities. But it is what it is. Fans are happy with the product. If it means injuries to players, that’s not really their issue.”

In addition to the league’s attitude toward head injuries, Sherman has complained about the hypocrisy of Thursday games before, and he’s not the only NFL player who takes exception to them.

“Do you understand what guys’ bodies go through in a game? And then to have to turn around four days later and to play? Look at the injury studies: They’re off the charts,” Drew Brees told reporters after his New Orleans Saints fell to the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday. “They’re off the charts. So is this smart as it pertains to guys’ health and safety? No, absolutely not.”