Annals of Sport

RG-Knee: Stoopid Stoopid Stoopid

As I was driving in this morning listening to Tony Kornheiser, he alerted his faithful audience to the column today by Sally Jenkins in the WaPo about the incomprehensibly indefensible decision by Mike Shanahan to keep playing Robert Griffin on Sunday. I got in and read it, and yep, it's a barnburner. She doesn't even spare Griffin himself:

There is no confusion over Robert Griffin III’s knee — and there never was. TheWashington Redskins drafted a healthy, thrilling young player and by the time they got done using him up this season he lurched around like a pirate with a peg leg. Let’s be clear: Griffin is not suffering from an old injury, or from just one injury, either. Anyone with eyes saw the kid hurt his knee three times in the past month, twice in the same playoff game, until a strained ligament turned into a torn one. Every decision maker in the organization, from the rock-headed coach to the renowned surgeon in the silly team pompom cap, is responsible for that...

...There is plenty of blame to spread for this state of affairs. What was Andrews doing on that sideline, other than wearing a team hat and providing political cover? Let’s not overlook the role of those who let Kenny Chesney fans and assorted college teams trample FedEx Field into such execrable condition without properly repairing it. Then there is Griffin himself, who hasn’t yet learned to play with discretion and to protect others’ investment in him.

Right ho, Sally. I couldn't believe what I was seeing when he was openly limping on that one run in the second half. He could so easily have suffered a career-ending injury. As it is, he may have suffered an injury after which he'll never quite be the same. You can say look at Adrian Peterson, but that kind of case is extremely atypical. Stoopid stoopid stoopid.

While I'm on the subject of pro football, I'm still a fan and all, but I wish to Hades that the league would get more serious about helmet-to-helmet hits. The player who makes one should be thrown out of the game, period. And then if he makes a second one in another game, he should be thrown out of that game and the next one, without pay. Only with a regime like that will we see their incidence decrease.

Another problem is the announcers, who are a) former players and b) nerds who worship former players and yearn for their approval. Both camps, especially the former, tend to say, most of the time when a helmet-to-helmet flag is thrown: C'mon, ticky tacky, ya gotta let 'em play. Bullshit. What ya gotta do is do everything possible to ensure that these men, who have families to raise and 40 years worth of life to live after retirement, have brains that will function into old age.

I award a little gold star to Phil Simms in this regard, who, last Saturday during the Packers-Vikings game, at first disputed a helmet-to-helmet call, but then on seeing the replay at least corrected himself and acknowledged it was a good call. That, sad to say, represents progress in the booth.