I haven't posted a story on Silver and Black Pride in quite a while, but after going through the regular Raiders news this morning I felt I had to comment on this topic.
Jerry McDonald wrote an interesting article for the Bay Area News Group yesterday about the new leg-pad rules the NFL wants to mandate starting in the 2013 season, and reaction from some of the Raiders players. For the most part, the rule did not seem to go over well with the Raiders' defensive players. For example, new cornerback Ron Bartell was quoted as saying:
"Personally, I won't be wearing them...So I'd better put some fine money away. It takes away from the speed of the game. Hip pads, knee pads, thigh pads. They're not going to stop you from tearing an ACL. It may stop a couple of soft-tissue injuries, but a knee pad isn't going to stop a guy from blowing out a knee."
Linebacker Travis Goethel also commented:
"I hate that. I don't want that at all. I don't like having anything restricting my movement in my legs. If you get hit in the thigh it really doesn't do too much to help you out."
What stands out most to me is the self-centered approach these players are taking to the issue. Look at the quotes - it's all about "this isn't going to help me", "this isn't going to protect me", "this is going to slow me down." By taking this approach, these Raiders players have put themselves squarely in the category of players who don't care about player safety and are unwilling to change the way they play the game in the interest of keeping all those who play it healthy. Steelers linebacker James Harrison may be the leader of that group, but he just found new members with Ron Bartell and Travis Goethel.
To Bartell and Goethel - you have to realize that the pads aren't just for your own protection, they are also for the protection of the running back or wide receiver you're barreling down on. If you're trying to make a tackle and wind up slamming your knee or thigh into the guy's helmet, the padding may be the difference between a hard hit and a concussion. Your flippant indignation toward the health and well-being of your fellow NFL players puts you on the wrong side of this issue, and for that, what you should have said was nothing.
Silver and Black Pride, what are your thoughts on the NFL's attempts to make the game safer and the players' response?