Je'Rod Cherry Criticizes Bears and Cutler for Following New Protocols
The Bears and Jay Cutler are under fire again after a high-profile injury incident during a national telecast. The heat is not coming from the league, Maurice Jones-Drew or the Fox cameras, but from ESPN 850 radio personality Je'Rod Cherry. Cherry, a former three-time Super Bowl winner with the Patriots, stated words to the effect that Cutler should have forced himself back into the game against the Texans because it had playoff implications.
I don't think it should be surprising that the words were spoken by a player whose career ended by 2004 and was in the NFL when the league itself was trying to deny any effects of concussions, but I do think the statements show two problems with how players can think in the NFL.
First, the comments show that there are some players that exist, whether they have been in the league since 2004 or not, who think that a player on their team could possibly considered weak for not returning with a diagnosed concussion. I have to believe that Cherry is not the only former player to feel this way and that there are current players out there with the same thoughts. Do some players in the league still believe old rhetoric? There has to be another sect of players who know the risks and do not care and blindly follow the gladiator culture.
Secondly, what about the fact that the Bears followed the protocol that the league stated with their letter to teams about concussions in 2011? The NFL stated that a concussed played should not re-enter the field of play. The phrase of the week from the letter was "When in doubt, leave them out." Does Cherry think it is okay for teams to ignore the letter or does he think that the players should be lying when they aren't? What if the player never asked for the test and the team conducted it because the medical staff thought they should? Is the player in question still a pansy?
Unfortunately, the conversation above never occurred when the co-host changed the subject quickly to discuss another game. I missed if it was brought up again later when I had to get out the car for a meeting. Still, I feel that the fact the words were even said is proof that the culture around the league cannot change unless the players are on board.
I found this article interesting about the language still being used about NFL head injuries, uh, concussions: http://www.slate.com/articles/sports...o_survive.html