FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 10: Ed Reed #20 of the Baltimore Ravens looks on against the New England Patriots during the 2010 AFC wild-card playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 10, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
The NFL has taken steps over the past few years toward preventing head injuries and “cleaning up” the game, so to speak, but for what reason? On the surface, it would appear that the league cares about player safety. However, anyone who pays attention knows that former players have been suing the league. If the NFL wants to stop dishing out money for settlements like these ones, it needs to at least give off the appearance that it cares about the long-term health of its employees.
Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed does not want fans to be fooled into thinking safety is the NFL’s priority.
“All of a sudden, the NFL is starting to get sued for all the stuff they haven’t protected over the years, and they haven’t done … now you want to take it out on us?” Reed asked after the Ravens’ win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, via SI.com. “Take it out on yourself. It’s easy for them to do the things they’re doing, fining us and make us look bad, like we’re the bad guy, when we’re not.
“If they were really so concerned about the violence and the injuries, players getting hurt, answer this question for me … why is there Thursday Night Football? We played three games in 17 days. Why is there Thursday Night Football? Come on, man.”
Regarding Thursday Night Football, Reed raises a very valid point. You could certainly argue that players who have to play two games with only three days off in between them are more susceptible to injury. The NFL is perfectly fine with that since it makes so much money on the weekly Thursday game.
Of course, Reed is also speaking from the perspective of someone who many consider to be a dirty player. He was recently suspended one game after a hit on Pittsburgh’s Emmanuel Sanders, but won the appeal. It was the third time Reed was fined for an illegal hit on a receiver in three seasons, so the NFL decided to fine him for the play.
“It was crazy for the wording they were using: Malicious,” he said. “I’m a malicious player … Ray Anderson talking about (how) I’m a dirty player. After 11 years, now I’m dirty? Serious, man?
“That hurt me, man,” Reed said. “It hurt me because for one, my kid is going to grow up and see that. My parents see that and they’re like, ‘Is this my son? For real?’”
Some would call Reed a head-hunter, but no one would question that he plays the game with passion. Whether or not he is a dirty player is open for debate. Whether or not the league cares more about money than player safety is not.