The NFL and the NFL Players Association generally cooperate when it comes to the decision protocol. The Sept. 25 incident involving the Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa It has fueled many disagreements between the League and the Union.
The Tagovailoa investigation raises two questions. First, are current protocols followed? Second, will current norms be changed?
When doctors cleared Tagovailo to return for the game against the Bills, it became clear Thursday night that the two sides disagreed on whether protocol had been followed. NFLPA executive committee member Richard Sherman said during the Colts-Broncos pregame that the union believes. Protocols are not followedAnd the league believes they are.
As for potential changes to the protocol, the NFL and NFLPA issued a joint statement late last week It was strongly recommended that the agreed amendments be implemented. The new protocol was widely reported and generally accepted as making “gross motor instability” an automatic “no go.”
The initial goal was to implement the changes by week five. That didn’t happen before the first game of the weekend in Denver.
Late Friday, the NFLPA released this statement: “Our union has agreed to change the concussion protocol to prevent players from returning to play in the event of an incident like the one we saw on September 25th. We want these changes to take effect. Immediately before this weekend’s game, protect players and make the change before I hope the NFL accepts.
The league responded with a statement of its own.
“As we have discussed with the NFLPA, we agree that changes to the joint NFL-NFLPA protocol are necessary to further improve player safety. We have already spoken with members of the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee, as well as unaffiliated neurotrauma consultants and independent certified athletic trainers to discuss these potential changes.
Well, why aren’t changes made? Hopefully, the league won’t hold off on a final deal on protocol changes until the union agrees that protocols were followed, as was the case with Tagovailoa. These two are separate issues and should be treated as such.