Violence will always be a part of the NFL

By Jordan Murray

Sports Editor

Last week, an audio clip was re­leased of former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Wil­liams talking to his team before the team’s playoff showdown with the San Francisco 49ers. In that clip, Williams instructed his players to “do everything in the world to make sure we kill [49er running back] Frank Gore’s head” and to take out 49er wide receiver Michael Crab­tree’s “outside ACL.”

Besides the fact that Williams might be one of the worst motiva­tional speakers of all time, his pre-game speech is downright creepy. He not only targets specific opposing players but also specific body parts to injure. Williams has been sus­pended indefinitely by the league, and there’s a realistic chance that he will never coach in the league again.

Williams’ actions are reprehen­sible. His suspension is well-de­served.

The idea, however, that NFL players are going to be changing the way they play because of the punishments being handed down by the league for violent play is ill-conceived. Yes, there is more evi­dence than ever that the repetitive hits NFL athletes take have serious long-term health consequences. But linebackers are not going to be let­ting up on a wide receiver running a crossing route anytime soon.

There are two main reasons why violence is an indispensable part of the NFL.

First, physical play is essential to success in football. Playing with a physical edge is what makes many players successful. An NFL line­backer cannot be successful without being able to intimidate his oppo­nents. In the heat of the moment, there’s no room for error and there’s no letting up. The player that lets up is often the one that gets hurt.

The second reason that there will always be violence in the NFL is that fans like it. There was one NFL game this season that was played without genuine violence. Remember the Pro Bowl? Yeah, no one else does either. Don’t forget, just a few short years ago even ESPN was glorifying big hits with segments like Jack’d Up, celebrating the same plays that now draw fines from the league.

Violence and aggression will al­ways be part of the NFL, there’s no way around it. If we want to get rid of them, we’d need to call it something other than football.

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