Not one to mince words, GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump has been highly critical of the NFL, a sport he sees as growing “soft like the country has become soft”. He repeated that claim on Wednesday at a rally in Florida, focusing primarily on concussion protocol.
Trump believes the concussion protocol that the NFL follows are too cautious saying, “Oh! Oh! Got a little ding on the head. No, no, you can’t play for the rest of the season.’ Our people are tough.”
He complained in January during the NFL playoffs that the players aren’t tough enough, the games are “crummy” and that “the whole game is screwed up”.
“Now they tackle. ‘Oh, head-on-head collision, 15 yards.’ The whole game is all screwed up. You say, ‘Wow, what a tackle.’ Bing. Flag. Football has become soft. Football has become soft. Now, I’ll be criticized for that. They’ll say, ‘Oh, isn’t that terrible.’ But football has become soft like our country has become soft. [Applause] It’s true. It’s true. The outcome of games has been changed by what used to be phenomenal, phenomenal stuff. Now these are rough guys, these are rough guys. These guys — what they’re doing is incredible, but I looked at it, and I watched yesterday in particular. So many flags, right? So many flags. And I could imagine a guy like Lawrence Taylor and Dick Butkus, who was really rough, and some of these guys sitting there watching. ‘Wow, what a beautiful tackle.’ ‘Fifteen yards! That’s — the game is over.’ You can’t kick a field goal any more.”
This criticism comes after the NFL has altered the protocol following concussions now that there is a extensive evidence linking hits to the heard to chronic traumatic encephalopathy which can lead to memory loss, depression, confusion, and other psychological symptoms. Tom Crabtree, a Packers tight end that retired in 2015, said, “There are things that happen on a day-to-day basis. Maybe it’s little things that happen to everyone. You misplace something. You forget a name. But as a football player, in the back of my mind, I think if I misplace something, is it because of football? Is it brain-related? Is there something bigger going on? Which may not be the case, but you never know. Maybe it is. It’s definitely something I think about often.”
Even though the concussion protocol is based in scientific fact, Donald Trump may have had a point when it came to not wanting to watch the games. The TV ratings have been significantly decreasing this season – a problem many blame on the presidential election eating up much of the primetime spotlight. Many also speculate that this is due to the Kaepernick-led national anthem protests.
“It’s boring — although I love Tom Brady. I gotta tell you. I do love Tom. He’s a great guy. But it’s different. But it’s become soft and our country has become soft.”
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