Author: Damian Mendieta
Unfair, unreasonable and unrelated to the sport, the NFL’s injury reports do more damage than the hits they talk about. The reports originated in order to stop gamblers from reaping the benefits of an inside tip about injuries, but are becoming more and more convoluted and unnecessary.
Ravens’ head coach John Harbaugh recently gave the league a piece of his mind regarding the reports, despite warnings of a possible sanction and fine from the Commissioner’s office. Harbaugh voiced fury at the wording surrounding the report policy that labeled certain players significant but not others.
“Well, I think player safety’s important for all the players. I’m gonna say that every injury is significant,” Harbaugh said to NBC Sports. “I’m not gonna go with the league saying that one player is more significant than another player. That’s absurd to me.”
Harbaugh’s comments came after Baltimore did not list free safety Ed Reeds’ torn shoulder labrum on the injury report last month and earned an unjust fine of $20,000. Players such as Reed, who have not missed practice or games due to injuries, have no reason to be listed on the NFL’s injury report.
The league and any opposition should be reminded that injuries, small or large, constitute a fundamental part of every football player’s career. By classifying certain injuries based on how often players take the field or whether or not they’re starters, the league depreciates the worth of its players by making some worth mention in the report and others not.
The inclusion of every minor injury into weekly reports also infringes on the health privacy rights all players have.
Harbaugh was vocal about that in his interview with NBC Sports as he said, “Aren’t there HIPAA [U.S. Department of Health and Human Services] rights here?…if I’m a player and I’ve been playing and I’ve been out there playing and I don’t want that on the injury report, and I’m told I have to put that on the injury report, we’ve got some players that resent that.”
Harbaugh’s opinions resonate among other coaches around the league, such as Lions’ head coach Jim Schwartz and New England’s’ Bill Belichick.
The Patriots’ regularly poked fun at the injury report as they made it a custom to name quarterback Tom Brady “probable” on the list, despite Brady taking part in 128 consecutive games. Since the controversy surrounding Baltimore’s fine, there has been an increase in players listed on the injury report.
The NFL should consider an injury report with less strict guidelines if it wants to keep players and coaches content while continuing to report injuries. This will ensure the integrity behind the reports and uphold the reputation of the league.
Only the most vital sidelining injuries should be listed and not those that players dismiss like another fly during practice.
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