San Francisco 49ers receiver Anquan Boldin has witnessed the NFL’s efforts to make the game safer.
The NFL has become vigilant about eliminating unnecessary hits to the helmet. Horse-collar tackles, which were once legal, was outlawed. Each team also has a separate independent physician to assist players and team doctors on return–to–practice decisions after being removed from a game because of a concussion. The NFL has also partnered with USA Football to launch “Heads Up Football,” a program designed to ensure that youth football coaches are trained and certified in proper tackling techniques, as well as concussion and hydration education.
Yet, Boldin is not buying the league’s efforts.
“I think the league is covering their butt to be honest with you," c/o the San Jose Mercury News.
Boldin shared his sentiments during a recent online chat and explained his skepticism:
“But there are some things that just don't make sense to me,” Boldin said. “I mean if you're so concerned about player safety then why do you have every team in the league playing on Thursday night when they just competed on a Sunday, knowing how difficult it is for guys to get back to being healthy after playing on Sunday? Guys really don't feel like they're back till probably Thursday or Friday to prepare for that next week.”
Boldin has a decent point, but teams are not required to play on Thursday nights every week. In addition, teams that play on Thursday are allowed to rest 10 days before their next game.
The NFL has been able to grow because of prime time games, and that growth leads to huge league revenue, which means players get paid. It is unlikely any player would prefer to make less money just to have one Thursday night off during the season. Basically, if playing on Thursday nights means players can afford their luxurious lifestyles, it seems like a small sacrifice to make.
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