The NFL's weak response
Instead of creating clear, in-game disincentives for player violence, the NFL has created nebulous new penalties.
The NFL announced today new rules to protect players in games from concussions. Calling them new rules is an overstatement. All the league really did is announce that penalties would be tougher. That's it. Ther response to a serious issue with brian damage and concussions is lamer than I thought possible.
NEW YORK (AP) -- The NFL imposed huge fines Tuesday on three players for dangerous and flagrant hits last weekend and warned that, starting with this week's games, violent conduct will be cause for suspension. (from SI)
That's all? "... will be cause for suspension."? It reminds me of how Robin Williams made fun of British police without guns: "Stop! Or I'll say stop again."
This new rule essentially creates a month or so of chatter by football analysts on TV and radio but it does NOTHING but create uncertainty for players. If the NFL wants to protect players, it needs to change incentives with certainty. Adopt the all-fault insurance rule: when one player gets injured, two players leave the game (the injuree and injurer), regardless of intent.
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