NFL neglects traumatic brain injuries

The Seattle Seahawks’ star cornerback Richard Sherman bothers a lot of fans, and understandably so. He’s outspoken. He loves to trash talk. He knows exactly how good he is, and he’s not afraid to express that. The only problem is, he may be completely justified. Sherman went to Stanford University before being drafted to the National Football League in the fifth round in 2011. You can’t go to Stanford and not be smart, even if you’re there to play football. As far as his play goes, he’s become a player that has virtually no stats because quarterbacks quite literally refuse to throw to his side. He provides arguably the best coverage in the NFL, and he knows it. So he may be outspoken on social issues, but that’s no reason not to listen.

Most recently, Sherman has used the huge stage he’s been provided to express how he feels about the NFL. Over the recent seasons, concussions have been at the forefront of the media. Former NFL players with terrible brain damage from their time in the league have come forward and said that the NFL needs to better protect its players.

In week one of this season, superstar quarterback of the Carolina Panthers Cam Newton took several hits to the head in a game against the reigning Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos. Despite how bad these hits looked—and the distress that Newton seemed to be in—no concussion protocol was taken. Sherman has taken a serious issue with this.

Sherman spoke out specifically about the events in week one, noting that the NFL will never really take serious action about player safety because if they made the game safer, it would affect their bottom line. Sherman believes that Newton wasn’t taken out of the game because it would be bad for TV ratings.

“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,” Sherman said. “If you’re not making them money, then at the end of the day, they’re going to find somebody else.”

Sherman then went even further, saying that the fans are often confused about the relationship between the league and the players. He believes that the relationship doesn’t have to be a good one, and the NFL really doesn’t mind.

“At the end of the day, [the NFL is] going to do what they have to do to make their money and to make as much money as they can for the owners … That’s the way it’s always going to be,” Sherman said.

When comments like this come from one of the league’s biggest stars, it seems like it would be detrimental to the NFL, which is just the point that Sherman is trying to make. Comments like this might make fans and players hate the league, but no matter what people will tune in to find more reasons to hate the league. People will buy Sherman’s jersey in order to demonstrate that they agree with him. And jersey sales and TV viewers mean more profits for the NFL.