If you are an athlete, or once was, then you could probably agree to a universal theme in sports: trash-talking. It’s simply a part of the culture of sports. For some competitors, there are no limits and boundaries as to what can be said to an opponent. But for others, personal comments regarding ones livelihood takes it to a completely different and inappropriate level.
Former New England Patriots safety Rodney Harrison, who’s currently an analyst for NBC Sports, recently commented on what he believes is the best way to stop Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. Joining “The Dan Patrick Show” for a day, Harrison said, “If I was playing against Cam Newton, I would try to take him out… I would try to hurt him. I would go right to his knees. That’s the goal.”
During his 15 seasons in the NFL, Harrison developed a reputation for being one of the dirtiest players in the league. He was fined and suspended on multiple occasions for personal fouls accumulated on the field.
While I respect the hardworking and championship winning player Harrison was, I think these comments were better left unsaid. Making a statement to intentionally hurt and knock a player out of the game is problematic. It makes me question your morality. Imagine the possibility of not being able to play the game you love due to a season-ending, or worse, a career-ending, injury. That would be devastating. No one should want to jeopardize a person’s well-being and purposefully inflict bodily harm.
I recognize that football is an aggressive, contact-driven sport. However, football today is different from football 10 years ago, and even more different from how it was 30-plus years ago. The degree of physicality has greatly diminished for the sake of player safety, as it should.
No, I am not inferring that football should be less physical. No, I am not preaching that the game should change. But, I am imploring that there is a difference between accident and intent. Accidents happen all the time. But intents are planned.
So, these are my thoughts, what are yours?
For more of Jordan’s take, check out her blog The Watter Girl.