Football requires a level of physical toughness, commitment, and courage few who haven’t played the sport can fully comprehend. And, as players try to break their opponent’s will, they look for a mental edge.
The pre-game rhetoric often reflects that effort. So, perhaps we shouldn’t take too seriously almost anything said by the players before a game.
However, in the lead-up to Super Bowl XLIX, New England Patriots defensive back Brandon Browner went over the line when he said he would tell his teammates to try to hurt injured Seattle defensive backs Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman.
Safety Earl Thomas separated his shoulder in the NFC Championship and Sherman suffered a sprained elbow ligament in that game.
In an interview with ESPN, Browner said that his two former teammates are tough and he respects them.
But, at the end of the day, this is about the Super Bowl. I’m gonna tell my teammates, Go hit that elbow. Go hit that shoulder. Most definitely. Try to break it if you can. You’re gonna be my best friend after the game, but I know you want the Super Bowl just as bad as I do.Brandon Browner
Football players accept that injuries are part of the game. But, deliberate attempts to injure are not. The argument that anything goes because football is a tough sport or because a championship is at stake, are the worst kinds of “win at any cost” arguments.
There is a clear line between hitting as hard as you can and deliberately attempting to injure an opponent. Purposely targeting a player’s existing injury is just wrong. It could end a player’s career. Most players stay clear of that kind of talk. Browner’s comments were irresponsible and represent the kind of thinking that needs to be rooted out of the sport.
The NFL should again make it clear that intent to injure is a serious issue and that talk promoting it is unacceptable.
Compete hard, but do it honorably and responsibly.
The Way You Win Matters™.
Photo Credit: Patriots.com[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]
Founder & Executive Director
Chuck Wilson is an award-winning host, interviewer, and commentator. He was an original host on ESPN Radio and was with the network for close to 17-years. In 2007, Wilson was named one of the 100 Most Influential Sports Educators in America by the Institute for International Sport. He is the founder of Even Field.