Less than a week after saying he never would have played football had he fully understood the risks involved, former Pro Bowl running back Bo Jackson has defended his comments.
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Jackson said the following about his playing career last week: "If I knew back then what I know now, I would have never played football. Never. I wish I had known about all of those head injuries, but no one knew that."
The former Los Angeles Raiders superstar told Nightengale he has received criticism since then, but he didn't back down from his remarks:
I'm also getting people saying I know nothing about concussions and head injuries. Let me tell you this, I speak on concussions because I've had a couple. I speak on CTE because I have a tendency to forget little things like where I put my keys five minutes ago. Or I forget what items I came to the grocery store for. I had my bell rung a couple of times while I was with the Raiders. One time I got up off the field, came to the other sideline, and actually sat on the wrong bench.
So people shouldn't make comments about somebody unless you have walked in their shoes, or you have competed on the same level that they have. Period. All of the comments are probably coming from selfish people only looking to make a profit off the sport.
One player who was at the center of the debate on safety during the 2016 regular season was Jackson's fellow Auburn alumnus and current Carolina Panthers quarterback, Cam Newton.
The former NFL MVP was consistently on the receiving end of unpenalized hits to the head area, which Jackson admitted was scary:
The person I love in the NFL like my own son is Cam Newton. I cuss him out like my own son. But every time he takes a hit to his head, that scares me, it scares the hell out of me.
I witnessed him getting hit hard twice, and both times go to the locker room. I know he can take care of himself, but it still scares me. I care about all of those players playing, I don't want to see anybody getting hurt.
Newton missed one contest during the regular season due to a concussion suffered on a two-point conversion attempt against the Atlanta Falcons.
Jackson—who played Major League Baseball for the Kansas City Royals, Chicago White Sox and California Angels in addition to his stint with the Raiders—played only four NFL seasons before a major hip injury cut short his football career.
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