When I heard the reports that Jason Babin was planning on running with the bulls, I was furious, almost beside myself with utter disbelief. How could a professional athlete, especially one who just earned All-Pro honors at his position, put himself in such a precarious position.
The Running of the Bulls is an annual festival in Pamplona, Spain, where thousands of people run in front of a herd of bulls. Babin plans to attend the festival while in Spain over the summer. Read more about the event here.
As you'll see in that article from Wikipedia, two people have died since 2003 and hundreds more are injured ever year, whether it is from falling injuries or injuries sustained from impact with a bull.
Babin is coming off of the best season of his career. I mean, just read these numbers: 18 sacks (good for third in the NFL), seven multi-sack games, and three forced fumbles.
The man was a menace, victimizing opponents across the board. This Eagles defense finally got the pieces it needed to run the wide-9 defense effectively, so why risk a Super Bowl for a tradition that will still be around five years from now when Babin's career ends?
Not only does the player himself take his team, the franchise, and the fans' perspectives into consideration, but the front office needs to take a stand in terms of player freedoms. The man is being paid $6.05 million, second among defensive players behind last year's prized acquisition Nnamdi Asomugha. Not only would they lose out on the man's talents, but they'd lose a hefty chunk of money as well.
You must be thinking, "What is so bad about running with the bulls? The chances are so slim of him getting hurt?"
That's the point I'm getting at. There is a chance of him getting hurt, and far worse than a simple bump or bruise.
Athletes doing dumb things which get them in trouble, especially in football, happen all the time. Plaxico Burress should never have been near a gun, let alone a loaded one in his pocket. Ben Roethlisberger should have been in a SUV, not a motorcycle, and Jaguars punter Chris Hanson shouldn't have been chopping wood before a game.
All three of these injuries cost their teams, and this is something Eagles' fans would never forget or forgive. Losing your star defensive end is tough enough when it happens in the midst of a play, but when it happens doing something that could easily be avoided, people have a right to be frustrated and angry.
Jeffrey Lurie doesn't need any more fans like that following last year's embarrassment.
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