Richard Sherman: NFL’s Concussion Protocol Is “An Absolute Joke”

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

Richard Sherman last played in Week 10 of the 2017 season. Still, in the two months since, he’s found plenty of time to hit, albeit figuratively, the NFL for their stance on player safety.

Following his December assertion that “obviously safety is not one of [the league’s] priorities,” the injured Seattle Seahawks star doubled down in Q&A session for the Players’ Tribune, describing the NFL’s concussion protocol as a farce in place for the image of the league.

“I think it’s an absolute joke,” Sherman said. “It’s for public opinion, for them to show the public that they care about the players, they care about player safety. In a show of good faith and good will they said we’re gonna have an independent trauma expert, an independent neurologist approve people, and the same things are happening that were happening before.”

The policy has failed numerous times in high-profile fashion this season. Sherman’s teammate Russell Wilson obviously skirted the protocol to return to a game, which got the team fined. Soon after, Houston Texans quarterback Tom Savage sustained a brutal hit that sent him into a fencing fit, returned to the game, then was pulled from the contest following an offensive series. 

The league then altered the protocol, forcing players requiring evaluation to receive it in the locker room rather than a sideline tent. Two weeks after the update, the Carolina Panthers failed to send Cam Newton to the locker room following a scary incident during the team’s playoff loss.

“The Tom Savage play where he was looked at by the independent neurologist and they approved him to go back into the game, and now the team is being ridiculed,” Sherman continued. “How about the league gets ridiculed for letting him go back in the game? Because they approved it. The independent neurologist, which is hired by the league, approved for him to go back in the game.”

Sherman tore his Achilles while playing a game on Thursday night, a relatively new practice that he’s also criticized.