With any rule change there is bound to be opposition. Professional athletes are creatures of habit, and they don’t like having to change the way they have been doing things their entire lives. With the NFL recently passing a rule that will require players to wear thigh and knee pads in 2012, you could have guessed there would be uproar among many of the players. There is.
“Personally, I won’t be wearing them,” Raiders cornerback Ron Bartell told the Contra Costa Times. “So I’d better put some fine money away. It takes away from the speed of the game,” Bartell said. “Hip pads, knee pads, thigh pads. They’re not going to stop you from tearing an ACL. It may stop a couple of soft-tissue injuries, but a knee pad isn’t going to stop a guy from blowing out a knee.”
Depending on how strictly the NFL enforces it, there could be ways around the rules. As Bartell’s teammate, safety Michael Huff, explained, he and some other players doctored them while at Texas so they were tiny just to appease the authorities. Bartell and Huff are not alone in not wanting to wear the extra equipment next season.
“There’ll probably be a lot of fines in 2013,” Chargers cornerback Quentin Jammer said according to U-T San Diego, adding that he has no intention of wearing knee pads. “A lot of guys won’t wear them. It’s dumb. Ridiculous to me. I don’t think anybody should be required to wear (them). I don’t get hit, so I don’t need to worry about pads. Offensive players should wear them because we hit them, but I don’t think it should be mandatory.”
Chargers outside linebacker Jarret Johnson agreed that the requirement is “ridiculous” and said he’ll be wearing the smallest pads possible.
“Thigh bruises and knee bruises aren’t ending careers,” Johnson said.
So, you can see where this is going. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. If players feel this strongly about not wearing knee and leg pads, they will either agree to pay the fine or discover ways to bend the rules. From the NFL’s standpoint, at least they can say they tried.
H/T Eye on Football
Photo credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESS