Though the National Football League (NFL) recently updated its concussion protocol, the league is still taking heat for the way teams are treating players who take big hits. For example, Nancy Armour of USA Today wrote an editorial after the Jan. 7 playoff matchup between the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints that called the Panthers out for how they handled an especially bad-looking hit on quarterback Cam Newton.
“Sunday, the Carolina Panthers made a mockery of the concussion protocol—yes, that newly toughened concussion protocol that was rolled out less than a month ago following the last incident to expose it as a farce, I might add,” Armour wrote.
After Newton was sacked late in the game, he fell to his knees while trying to jog off the field. It appeared that be was being evaluated for a concussion—but then he entered the game after missing just one play.
“If the NFL is sincere about protecting the long-term health and safety of its players—or even just wants the appearance of it—it needs to dock the Panthers a draft pick,” Armour added. “Send a message to them and every other team that keeping a player’s brain intact matters more than anything. Yes, even during a playoff game.”