By now you will have seen the video of Michigan linebacker David Ojabo tore his Achilles tendon during a pro day workout. The video (which has nearly 9 million views) is devastating and even now, days later, it remains a hotly-discussed topic among some teams for one big reason: It shows just how brutal the NFL really is.
After Ojabo goes down, he is essentially alone for a few seconds, and some of the only immediate actions seen in the video are an assistant coach walking past him, picking up the ball Ojabo was holding, and moving it.
To be fair to the trainer, he may not have wanted to help Ojabo, fearing he would make the injury worse. The coach, and others around Ojabo, probably also sensed that medical help was on the way.
In fact, what is not seen in the clip, but is seen in another, is that medical personnel did arrive in Ojabo. He was not alone, on the ground like this, for an extended period of time.
Still, a host of questions remain as to why a player who collapsed on the grass didn’t immediately (and that’s the key word) have anyone move to comfort him.
When Danish soccer player Christen Eriksen collapsed last summer, for example, due to cardiac arrest, he was immediately surrounded by teammates and others who offered him medical attention and support.
At best, at best, what happened to Ojabo is looking bad. A very, very bad look. The whole scene is.
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It may not be typical of the NFL to treat players like gadgets, but it seems like it is. Many NFL owners care more about the quality of the fabric on their yacht couches than they do about the minds and bodies of the players on their teams.
Admittedly, treating gamers like an old iPhone with a cracked cover isn’t new. However, it seems worse now. The entire league has become more callous and greedy. As money has increased, so has callousness.
It’s not just on the field. It is the shameful treatment that the Washington organization and the NFL give to victims of sexual harassment. It’s teams’ almost gleeful pursuit of Deshaun Watson despite the quarterback being accused of sexual misconduct by 22 women. Or how the league not only didn’t care about a social protest movement, but tried to stop it and then punished its organizer.
And it’s not just the NFL. Parts of the country spent years celebrating cruelty and indecency. There has been a dramatic rise in authoritarianism around the world. There are the selfish people who don’t get vaccinated or have long refused to wear masks.
Former NFL quarterback Chris Simms on Profootballtalk.com perfectly explained the football side of this phenomenon.
“It’s a brutal business. It’s as brutal a business as there is in this country. As for things like that, how ruthless it is, the loyalty … We just talked about Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons. ‘Hey, the best quarterback in franchise history. You did all these cool things. What? Another quarterback wants to come here? Hey, we could get you out of here. So what cool things did you do in the community?
In fact, not only was Atlanta prepared to drop Ryan in favor of Watson, but the Falcons traded Ryan on Monday, the team’s 2008 first-round draft pick who has started all but three games for the franchise. , to Indianapolis.
“Guys who get hurt in practice?” Sims added. “You’re going to have to put me (as) a cold-hearted guy, too. The guy gets hurt in practice, I’m in the middle of an offensive period, I’m the starting quarterback. ‘Damn, he’s hurt. But what is next play, coach?”
And count me as someone cold-hearted too. When you watch an NFL practice — and I’ve seen it at least a dozen times while covering three separate NFL teams over the years as a beat writer and other practices as a league writer — teams will do exactly what that Simms described. Sometimes they just move drills around an injured player and move on.
When I first saw it, I couldn’t believe it. There was a kind of naturalness in the sheer coldness of it. I remember talking to a Pro Bowl offensive lineman after a Giants practice about it and he seemed surprised that I was surprised. That’s how the NFL works, he told me.
Later, like Simms, I was anesthetized by the violence, and when players hurt each other in practice or games, I simply took notes, as if I were writing a shopping list. Later in my career, I was surprised every time that lack of empathy showed up.
The very fact that Ojabo was again training for teams is an indication of how little the league cares about the health of its players. Ojabo worked out at the combine and the teams have plenty of Michigan movies to watch. There is absolutely no need for him to have a massive second workout, but teams want to make sure they get as many looks as possible on their widgets.
The NFL, for years, has used a massive public relations campaign that emphasizes how family-oriented football is. That was never really true because of how the sport dismissed its battered players in the cruelest of ways and didn’t take care of a significant number of them.
Soccer was never family. it is a business
an ugly one
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: David Ojabo’s Achilles injury on Michigan pro day shows how cool the NFL is