An Intriguing Perspective On Violence In Football From a Current Player – As the light being shined on the NFL and its violent culture grows brighter, one would assume that all players would be 100% supportive of the measures being taken by the League to curb the bone-crushing hits fans have grown to love on Sundays (Mondays too, sometimes even Saturdays).
Lance Briggs hates what the game is turning into. After the suspensions of Jonathan Vilma, Anthony Hargrove, Will Smith and Scott Fujita were announced, Briggs shared his thoughts on the matter of player safety in the NFL. He called Vilma’s season long suspension “a bunch of B.S.”, then went on to say:
“Player safety is best taken care of by providing health insurance for players’ lives,” Briggs said. “Come on. It’s like asking a boxer: ‘Are your injuries related to taking blows to the head?’ We throw our bodies around. It’s physical. It’s football. You can’t stop the violence from happening.”
No, but you can limit it and the league must try — which is why Vilma’s penalty was deserved.
“Let me make one thing clear: I in no way condone somebody putting money up to intentionally hurt someone,” Briggs said. “But bounty or not, what did the Saints do on the field that’s illegal? All I’ve seen on TV is clean, physical football. You can get those same highlights from any NFL team.”
I look forward to interviewing Briggs in 10 years to see if he still resents the way Goodell prioritized player safety by punishing intentions as heavily as results.
“It’s becoming flag football,” Briggs said. “We’re flying around at 100 mph. In our mindset, to say I need to literally go 5 percent lower (on the body) within a split-second — how do you do that?”
What makes these remarks troubling is the fact that Briggs grew up in the Sacramento area while Junior Seau made a name for himself at USC, then later with the San Diego Chargers. You would think that Briggs would be a little more sensitive to the issues that players and former players may experience due to the traumatic events that they experience on the football field. Every Sunday, we witness these players throw their bodies around in what could be equated to experiencing multiple minor car accidents every time they step onto the field. We love them for it and root for them because we recognize what they put themselves through. Any effort made to increase the safety of these warriors should be embraced, not belittled.