WASHINGTON — Stop me if you’ve heard this before: NFL players don’t like to play on Thursdays.
The old familiar short week storyline is alive and well this week, as Washington Redskins safety D.J. Swearinger becomes the latest to sound off on the scheduling practice.
What used to be just Thanksgiving Day games hosted by Dallas and Detroit has expanded to a third game for NBC, a mini slate of Thursday Night Football games that began with Thanksgiving and ran to the end of the season, and finally a full-season tilt of Thursday games on the schedule.
Thursday Night Football is not only not going anywhere, it’s getting more elaborate over time. But that didn’t stop Swearinger from swearing it off.
“They need to throw the Thursday night games out,” he said. “They’re definitely too hard on our bodies, speaking for us, speaking for any other NFL team. It’s harder when you just get off the field on Sunday and you’ve got to prepare in two or three days for another physical game. Our bodies are definitely hurting right now.”
Chad Dukes responded to Swearinger’s remarks on his Tuesday CDVTW show on 106.7 The Fan.
“I want to try to be as open and honest about this as we possibly can be,” Dukes prefaced for his listeners. “I think maybe to some people, it’s going to sound a little bit cold-blooded, and that’s why I think we should say that there will be no judgment, at least from me, to the answer you give to this question: do you care about this? Do you care about this at all?
“We hear a lot of b—-ing and a lot of moaning, a lot of kvetching…from these guys about Thursday Night Football. Here’s the problem that I have with that: you have a players’ union. You can address these things with your players’ union. The union is always howling about safety, always howling about the players’ interests. You have a union where lots of other people do not; take it up with your union.
“The second part is, don’t act like you don’t benefit from Thursday Night Football. There’s higher revenue, there are higher advertisements, there are higher cap figures. Players benefit from this as well. Maybe that benefit isn’t worth it, but go through the process.”
Dukes made clear that he wants players to be educated about all health risks. But at the end of the day, if the information is known and the players agree to play these games, then shut up and play.
“I wouldn’t want to do what they do, but I couldn’t do what they do and I certainly don’t get paid what they get paid. I fault not one football player not one dollar for what they make. The market is dictated by what these guys will make and we all intrinsically have control over that by whether or not we choose to watch it on TV, buy tickets, by jerseys, the like. You know what I’m talking about here.
“I’m sick and tired of this. Honestly, I don’t want to sound cold-blooded. I want to be sympathetic, especially if guys are getting hurt, especially if it’s not good for the sport. But stop your b—-ing. Go to your player reps. Go to [Executive Director of the NFLPA] DeMaurice Smith; I hear him on this radio station all the time.”