Courtesy of Yahoo.com, this is what Hines had to see about the league:
"The league doesn't care about us anyway. They don't care about the safety of the game. If the league was so concerned about the safety, why are you adding two more games on? You talk about you don't want players to drink...and all you see is beer commercials. You don't want us to gamble, but then there are [NFL-endorsed lottery scratch-off games].
"[The illegal-hit penalties are] going to change the outcome; somebody's going to lose a game because of it. It's going to be a huge play in a playoff game, somebody's going to hit a quarterback or do something and the referee is going to be too scared to call it. So he's going to call it anyway so he can save his tail. He may not even get fined or not, but it will come down to the outcome of a ballgame."
Amen, Hines, amen. Now, I've not always been a fan of Mr. Ward's off the field remarks, especially when he called out his quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, last year for not playing against the Baltimore Ravens.
However, I'm in 100 percent agreement with him about the hypocrisy of the NFL. The way the league treats its employees is pretty much sums up everything wrong about corporate America.
The NFL tells its employees not to drink and tells them that alcohol only leads to trouble, yet almost every other commercial you see during a game is for a alcohol company. The NFL "frowns" upon gambling, but gambling is one of the main reasons it's so popular.
Then, the NFL says it's cracking down on player safety but is adding two more games to an already grueling schedule. Not only that, but the league already has an all-time high in injuries this year, and adding two games is supposed to help that?
The NFL says it's all about player safety, yet they still promote big hits on their own site. This is how they advertise the game on that page: "If there is a more physical, visceral rivalry in the game today, I'm not sure what it is". Yeah that sure sounds like a fun and SAFE time.
Of course no one wants to see anyone injured, but injuries are and always will be a part of the sport. The way that the NFL is going about reducing them is all wrong. When a referee already has a flag in his hand before a penalty occurs you have a problem. Go re-watch the Oakland Raiders-Pittsburgh Steelers game again. Even though the Steelers won in a landslide, it was still hard to watch for Steelers' fans because of all the penalties.
No one wants to turn on the game and see a flag on every other play. No one wants to see the league "baby" these players. Not even the players! They know the risk they take, and they love it, and so do the fans.
I say bravo to Hines Ward and any other player that is willing to come out and speak the truth. Fact is, Roger Goodell and the rest of the people that run this league are ruining it very fast. Of course people will still watch, and I really can't blame them. Thinking about America without the NFL is really hard, but it can happen, as soon as next year.
The players, the NFLPA, and the fans need to band together and make a stand. The fact is, this once great game is being ruined and controlled by people who seem to have no idea what they're doing. It's going to take more players like Hines Ward to come out and realize it.
Thank you for reading and you can read this blog and many others on the very popular Pittsburgh sports blog 412sportstalk