Today's hearing of the House Judiciary Committee examining the manner in which the NFL is dealing with the epidemic of concussions produced some healthy skepticism from committee chair, Linda Sanchez of California and Anthony D. Weiner of New York.
It was clear that despite testimony from the new co-directors of the NFL's reformulated Head, Neck and Spine committee regarding future NFL plans to address concussions, the NFL's past was still present in the committee room to haunt them.
As Congressman Weiner put it, This reminds me of the grieving process, First denial then more denial and then a plan to move forward. Congressman Weiner was right on point when he cautioned the new committee chairs that they were responsible for the brains of their players and the NFL would be held fully accountable to protect this most cherished asset.
Disturbing testimony was elicited from ra representative of Texas Tech on how a college football player was mistreated when he made complaints that were clearly concussion related. It is truly amazing that a team coach with all of the current information would still chose to ignore the complaints of his young player and literally put him in a dark closet as punishment for his complaints. But when you heard retired NFL players tell similar stories and recount signs placed in locker rooms such as "you can't make the club if you are in the tub" all of this become abundantly clear.
Thom Mayer, the NFL players association medical director summed it up quite well when he quoted Ben Franklin to the committee, "Well done is better than well said" While the NFL should be commended for taking giant steps forward in their recognition and attitude towards concussions, the work is far from over and their actions will speak louder than their words.
A great deal of gratitude is owed to Representative Sanchez who has led the committee's hearings into this important issue and continues to shine light on the NFL and its treatment of brain injuries.