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What will the NFL look like this season?

What will the NFL look like this season?
August 09
00:00 2018

By James B. Ewers Jr. 

Football season is right around the corner. It almost seems as if it never left. I watched my first football game of the season Thursday. The Baltimore Ravens went up against the Chicago Bears. The highlight for me was seeing Robert Griffin III play quarterback for the Ravens.

I thought he played well given that he was out of football for a while. He came into the league with great acclaim and fanfare. He performed well for the Washington Redskins before his injury. Like too many athletes, he came back too soon from his injury. Let us wish Robert Griffin III much success as he attempts his comeback.

During the off-season, the NFL owners met and discussed a few rule changes that will have an effect upon the game. The National Football League has long been plagued with head injuries and concussions. For years, they tried to pretend that concussions caused by head injuries either didn’t exist or weren’t that important. They tried to do an end around, but we the people stopped it.

I think the movie “Concussion” shed a spotlight on this important issue.  The NFL set aside some money for retired players to go and get examined for concussion-related illnesses. This has helped.

Now, the owners have passed a rule against players leading with their helmets to tackle an opponent. You can be fined or suspended. It is my opinion that finally the owners are doing something about a problem that has gotten worse over the years.

Implementing this new rule will probably mean the game will be slowed down. I don’t mind it slowing down if it will save a life. Football, while exciting to watch, is a dangerous game. Your life can be altered in the blink of an eye, so for all of you who can’t take the slow pace, just take a chill pill.

Another issue that the NFL owners have been tackling is the United States flag disagreement. Players and teams over the course of last season took different positions. Some players took a knee while some teams locked arms. Both actions were done to show solidarity.

Those of us who have been keeping up with the issue know the owners are in a pickle as to what the next steps are. A few months ago, they said players could not kneel on the field while the national anthem was playing and must remain in the locker room. Plainly stated, there would be no forms of demonstrations while the national anthem was being played.

Now because of pressure and pushback, the owners have gone in another direction. They are on limbo drive! They are not sure what to do. With the season only weeks away, the NFL has become mute on the issue. In fact, the NFL front office has instructed the owners not to discuss the topic. Recently, during a scheduled Dallas Cowboys interview, the press was told that owner Jerry Jones would not be talking about the subject.

Professional athletes see what is happening in America. They will be using their platform to speak out about social justice issues. NFL owners are in for a challenging period when it comes to Old Glory.

Where does the power lie? I believe it rests with the players.

James B. Ewers  Jr. Ed.D. is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School in Winston-Salem and played college tennis at Johnson C. Smith University, where he was all-conference for four years. He is a retired college administrator.  He can be reached at ewers.jr56@nullyahoo.com.

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