Sean Salisbury made another brilliant appearance on Lavar and Dukes this week, discussing the abundance of former players suing the NFL and a select few taking advantage of the system, as well as Batman vs. The Avengers, amongst other things.
When asked at the top of the interview whether he believes a good chunk of former players are trying to capitalize off of the opportunity to make a quick penny, Sean gave a very instinctual and loaded response in defense of the league.
“The NFL gave me everything that I’m about when it comes to career. It’s taught me how to pick myself up from getting kicked in the teeth. I am grateful for what it taught me in how to be a dad and how teach your kids to be tough, to be smart and not to play scared, but not to play stupid. I am not an NFL basher.”
That being said, he did acknowledge that there must have been some negligence from the NFL when it came to recognizing the issue of player head injuries and the long term severity of those injuries on the players’ long-term mental health.
“Do I think that we were all ill-informed and sat down and had a helmet meeting or an equipment meeting and said ‘here’s the problem’? No, I don’t. I don’t think the NFL was overly informed at the time either. And they sell the product and the big hits, but they don’t want to return the favor. Yes. Was there negligence on the NFL’s part? You’re damn right there was! But do I believe there are players out there that are trying to pile on and get paid? Of course there are.”
Salisbury went on to clarify that just because there is wrongdoing on either side, that does not mean there aren’t players who desperately need help from the NFL, with nowhere else to turn. He specified that former players should absolutely be protected by the league with affordable health insurance after their careers have passed them by.
“The players deserve better. They deserve more.”
As Lavar was explaining the psyche of the players to never want to quit, Sean broke in to contribute his own thought to that point.
“They’d of had to add four knee caps and four anterior cruciate ligaments to me if I was told I could have played more; if I was told I could have lasted longer. If they had said ‘Sean, one more hit and you may not be able to…’, I would have still played. Maybe that’s ignorance and stupidity but that’s how we were raised.”
He concluded his thought by reminding listeners that the amount of playing time a player gets has no bearing on the lasting damages of concussions. That if one concussion goes unnoticed by team doctors it can have severe long-term effects on a player’s mental health, whether they are a backup or starter.
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