COMMENTARY | Monty Williams has done a phenomenal job as the head coach of the New Orleans Hornets. He got New Orleans into the 2011 NBA Playoffs and he has an injury-plagued Hornets squad off to a solid start this year. So it would take a lot for me to find fault with anything Monty Williams would say or do.
Unfortunately, he has just done that. In the aftermath of Anthony Davis's concussion, Monty Williams strongly criticized the NBA's concussion policy. Here's the full transcript of Williams' comments on how the NBA handles concussions.
''Now, they treat everybody like they have white gloves and pink drawers and it's getting old. It's just the way the league is now. It's a man's game. They're treating these guys like they're 5 years old. He desperately wanted to come (to Chicago), but he couldn't make it. I'm not saying I don't like it. We've got to protect the players, but I think the players should have more say-so in how they feel. I'm sure I had four or five concussions when I played, and it didn't bother me. The NBA is doing what's necessary to protect the players, but this is not the NFL. You don't get hit in the head that much. I understand it. But as a coach, I'm a baby about it. I want my guys ready to play.''
NBA head coaches are the voices of their franchises and they need to think before they speak. Monty Williams' comments on concussions have never been this caustic in New Orleans, which is why they were so surprising. I know Williams had to be frustrated at Anthony Davis's concussion on top of Eric Gordon's sore knee. But the NBA isn't turning the clock back on concussions.
Monty Williams' statement about the four or five concussions he suffered in his playing career has no relevance today. That was a different era and we know a lot more about concussions today. And just because there aren't as many concussions in the NBA as in the NFL and NHL, it only takes one to cause permanent damage.
Monty Williams is also misguided in his statement that NBA players should have a say in whether they are ready to play after a concussion. Every NBA player (except maybe Eric Gordon) always fights through injuries to get on the court. Sometimes it is necessary for the NBA to protect the players from themselves.
The Hornets' trainers and medical staff don't offer suggestions to Monty Williams on how to acclimate Austin Rivers to point guard or how to get New Orleans to shoot three-point shots better. So Williams needs to leave the doctors alone and let them handle concussions the way the NBA dictates they should.
Patrick Michael was born in New Orleans and currently resides in the Big Easy. A loyal New Orleans NBA fan, Patrick was a diehard New Orleans Jazz fan and now cheers for the Hornets. Patrick was in attendance the night the Hornets were one win away from the Western Conference Finals. Follow Patrick Michael on Twitter at patmichael84.
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