Richard Sherman: The NFL Couldn’t Care Less About Player Safety

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

Richard Sherman has laid a big hit or two in his time as a leader of one of the best defensive teams in the NFL.

But on Thursday the Seattle Seahawks cornerback delivered a crushing verbal blow to every single player in the league: The league does not care about your health.

In a video that came with a Players' Tribune post titled "Take Care of Your Players," the three-time first team All-Pro conveyed to NFL players and fans that the relationship between player and league is adversarial.

"They're a bottom-line business," Sherman said of the NFL. "If you can increase their bottom line then they'll love you. They'll do everything they can to put you out more, to market you, to make sure the fans buy your jersey because it makes them more money. If you're not making them money, then at the end of the day they're going to find somebody else."

He also compared team owners to race car owners, who treat players like inanimate objects that must be cast aside once they're no longer of use.

"They have to do enough to keep the players in good enough shape to go out there to perform, so that's the degree they care," he said. "Once they don't have to deal with a player, once a player isn't on their roster then they don't care."

Sherman did note that there is one instance in which the league truly cares that a player is hurt—and that's when a marketable star goes down, which disappoints fans and decreases interest in the league.

He cited the season's opening game, when reigning MVP Cam Newton suffered multiple questionable hits at the hands (and helmets) of the Denver Broncos. Days later, the league admitted that refs missed at least one roughing the passer penalty.

"Does the league care when Cam Newton gets hit in the face five times and pretty much knocked out of the game? And they have all these spotters and people that watch the games specifically for these reasons and you see the guy on his hands and knees shaking his head after he just took a shot to the face," Sherman said. "And they're saying they didn't see any indications that he needed to come out of the game. If you take the reigning MVP out of the game in the last couple of minutes with the game on the line, he'd be frustrated, the fans would be frustrated. But it would be in line with what you said that you wanted to see in terms of player safety, but you didn't because it would affect the ratings. "