The NFL's player safety rules have been a hot topic during the preseason, especially since Chicago Bears linebacker Jon Bostic was fined $21,000 for a crown-of-the-helmet hit. The subject even has been discussed by radio personality Rush Limbaugh.
However, ThinkProgress.org reported, via Media Matters, that former NFL star Leonard Marshall said Limbaugh was "irresponsible" when the conservative talk show host said the NFL was being "chickified" with the new rules.
Marshall, a former New York Giants defensive end, said on SiriusXM Radio that he was upset about Limbaugh's remarks because the league is trying to make the game safer.
"It's very irresponsible," Marshall, who played 11 seasons in the NFL, said on SiriusXM's The Agenda. "How about you become the father of a 17-year-old boy who plays in a football game on a Friday night, and is in need of medical attention. It takes 15 minutes for the medics to get there to attend to this kid who gets injured, and your kid dies on the football field. How about being that parent?"
Limbaugh has a history of criticizing safety measures at all levels of football. He recently called helmet sensors being used by some college football teams as "another sign of America's decline."
Limbaugh has often criticized rule changes and efforts to reduce concussions and brain injuries in football, largely because he doesn't believe the "conventional wisdom" about the long-term effects of concussions. He's called efforts to make football safer a scheme to "poison people's minds about football" so it will be banned and said those same rule changes are "paving the way" for the downfall of the sport.
Marshall said Limbaugh and his listeners should be part of the solution.
"Watch and hope that there is change coming down the pike," Marshall said. "Be part of that change. Be part of trying to empower young people with knowledge and information about the risk associated with playing tackle football."
-- Bill Bradley, contributing editor