Richard Sherman, in a video for the Players Tribune, offered poignant but matter-of-fact thoughts about the relationship between NFL management and players, bluntly saying that “They are gonna use us up.”
Sherman pointed out the hypocrisy of how the league is constantly touting its new player safety protocols, but left Cam Newton out there without receiving a concussion test after multiple blows to the head in the season opener against the Broncos.
“It’s hard to stress player safety in such a violent game,” he said. “Because, at the end of the day, ratings sell, people wanna buy tickets, people are gonna come to games regardless. Now, does the league care when Cam Newton gets hit in the face five times, and pretty much knocked out of the game, and they have all these spotters and people who watch the game specifically for these reasons and you see the guy on his hands and knees shaking his head and he just took a shot to the face?”
“And they’re saying they didn’t see any indications that he needed to come out of the game,” Sherman continued. “If you take the reigning MVP out of the game in the last couple minutes, with the game on the line, he’d be frustrated. The fans would be frustrated. But, it would be in line with what you said — what you want to see in terms of player safety — but you didn’t because you didn’t want to affect the ratings or the game. They’re a bottom-line business.”
Sherman analogized NFL players and owners to the relationship an owner has with a race car. “You have to keep the car running at a high level if you want to to make money, if you want to win races, if you want to do the things that make you successful that gain you notoriety,” he said. “So I think the same is true in football. They have to do enough to keep the players in good enough shape to go out there and perform. That’s the degree they care.”
Sherman pledged that he will be involved with the Union and informed about bargaining matters, which is something that was also said by Aaron Rodgers recently. If star players get up there at the negotiating table, the NFLPA will have more leverage in the next round of collective bargaining talks.