Did the New England Patriots cheat to win the Super Bowl? Julian Edelman stayed in Super Bowl despite concussion concerns – took a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit early in the fourth quarter, got up and tried to extend the play.
“Edelman had another reception on the drive, but cameras showed him on the sideline afterward looking somewhat disoriented, and there was immediately an online outcry for the team to evaluate him for concussion symptoms.
“He did not visibly go through the league’s concussion protocol after the hit by Chancellor, remaining in the game and even going back to return a punt, which resulted in a fair catch.
“Asked after the game about the hit, and whether he should have been evaluated, Edelman avoided the question.
“’We’re not allowed to talk about injuries,” said Edelman, who sat out New England’s final two regular-season games after suffering a concussion in Week 15.
“On what proved to be the winning drive, Edelman, who seemed steadier on his feet, fooled cornerback Tharold Simon with a spin move at the goal line, catching a pass and falling into the end zone for a score. The question remains, however, if he should have been allowed back on the field.”
The NFL drew record audiences, ticket prices and betting levels for the game. The NFL sports cartel and the sanctimonious media encourage levels of violence in professional US football as in hockey that make serious injuries to athletes inevitable. The brutalization of young athletes is seen as essential to marketing and justified as “winning is everything, the only thing” and “giving fans what they want.” The athlete who shrugs off a potentially traumatic head injury, plays through the pain, and toes the company line is hailed as heroic, exceptional and a “warrior” in “a man’s game.”
In an article published before this year’s Super Bowl about the allegations of cheating by the New England Patriots knick-named “deflategate”, we pointed out:
“In May 2014 a group of retired NFL players filed a class-action lawsuit against the league, alleging that professional football knowingly supplied them with illegal narcotics and addictive painkillers. The players claimed the NFL encouraged an environment of bad medical practices and the massive over-prescription of painkilling drugs in its pursuit of profits. More than 600 former players signed on to the 85-page document. Studies have shown that a player with a career of four years or more in the NFL will live on average to the age of 55 (compared to the average life expectancy of 75 for males in the US).[iii]
“In other words, the NFL knowingly cheats vulnerable athletes of years out of their normal life expectancy. In 2013 the NFL paid $765 million in an out-of-court settlement to over 4,500 former players who sought legal compensation for long-term brain damage from repeated and severe concussions incurred during their careers. As wsws.org reported, the NFL has acknowledged that, ‘it expects nearly a third of retired players to develop long-term cognitive problems.’ The link between repeated concussions sustained by football players and the high incidence of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Parkinson’s disease has been well documented.
“Not only does the NFL make up its own rules and does whatever necessary to suit its self-serving interests, its attitude towards a level playing field is pragmatic and without principle.”
After decades of cashing in, the NFL and NHL were forced to introduce elementary concussion protocols to maintain the fiction that professional football and hockey are played according to common-sense, semi-civilized rules of conduct. These include “Slow to get up following a hit to the head” and “Motor co-ordination/balance problems (stumbles, trips/falls, slow/laboured movement).”
The “world champions” do not seem to have followed the protocol and allowed its previously-concussed star player, whose performance was deemed decisive to its victory, to stay in the game. No principle is followed. National Post sports columnist Cam Cole cynically declared about the Patriots,“deflategate” and “their anything-to-win philosophy”: “Listen, no revelation of Patriots’ deviousness would surprise me.”
Tony Seed, “NFL: A sports cartel without balls or integrity,” February 1, 2015