Each different week in The Coach’s Field, Timothy Thomas explores the varied classes that may be realized from the world of sports activities.
Full disclosure: I’m a Baltimore Ravens fan and a Lamar Jackson fan. I’ve talked about this in different articles and it’s in my bio. So learn this text by no matter lens you need. Nevertheless, I write this, not from the angle of an apologist for anyone participant or group however quite, as a coach and a person who values the humanity of individuals no matter how a lot I root for (or in opposition to) them.
It hasn’t even been a month since America witnessed Buffalo Payments security Damar Hamlin collapse on the Cincinnati Bengals turf from cardiac arrest. But, we’ve already moved on to “enterprise as standard” within the NFL. On Tremendous Wild Card weekend, a panel of analysts together with former gamers and a former coach mentioned Lamar Jackson’s standing and his return to play regardless of his lingering knee damage.
For context, Jackson, who performs quarterback for the Ravens, is broadly revered as the most effective gamers on any given Sunday. On December 4, nonetheless, he suffered a PCL sprain that sidelined him for weeks. Jackson is within the remaining yr of his rookie contract. He’s negotiating a fully-guaranteed contract, one increased than any quarterback within the league (consistent with the settlement the Cleveland Browns lately gave Deshaun Watson). Jackson additionally doesn’t have an agent and is dealing with all negotiations himself with some assist from advisors and the NFL Gamers Affiliation.
Since Jackson doesn’t have an agent, there haven’t been many updates or public feedback in regards to the standing of his return. This silence has given many individuals house to speculate that he’s holding out for contractual causes, not due to his damage. Nevertheless, Jackson lately launched an announcement on Twitter explaining his damage’s severity. The sprain was a lot worse than many thought, shut to an entire PCL tear. Jackson is a flexible athlete who depends on his legs as a lot as his arm to compete on the excessive degree he does, so this damage prohibits him from performing the best way he’s most comfy.
Now to the half the place it’s obvious we don’t actually care about participant security. The panel of analysts—which included former famous person quarterback Michael Vick, former all-pro defensive again Charles Woodson, and former New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton—all shared their ideas on Jackson’s damage.
“I don’t prefer it,” mentioned Payton. “This entire tweet out my damage standing… Look I simply don’t prefer it. The staff is extra essential than you.” Then Woodson chimed in: “If this staff was 2-15 then I might see him not coming again making an attempt to complete out the season. It simply appears all of us play this sport to attempt to win a Tremendous Bowl… and you probably have a staff that’s ok to get to the playoffs…” He trailed off earlier than pinning Jackson’s motives on the shortage of a long-term contract.
Lastly, Michael Vick, Jackson’s idol, had most likely the harshest criticism for the one-time unanimous NFL MVP. “It’s the playoffs man,” Vick mentioned. “Put a brace on it. Let’s go… I performed an entire season on a sprained MCL.” Payton threw one final jab on the very finish: “With a lower-body damage, he’s going to be up within the press field; he’s not going to be on the sphere.”
These feedback all appear to counsel that Lamar Jackson is simply precious to the extent that he’s keen to threat his personal physique. Sadly, such feedback additionally point out that the one time to worth an athlete’s entire human life is once they’re mendacity lifeless on the turf and in want of CPR or an EMT transport to the hospital.
As a former soccer participant, I do know it’s ingrained in athletes to maintain working towards or enjoying a sport even after witnessing grotesque, body-mutilating accidents. So I additionally know that’s the angle from which these former professionals are commenting on Jackson’s damage. However as a believer who tries to take the phrase of God severely, what instantly got here to thoughts was that our our bodies are sacred temples (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). We’re referred to as to make use of our our bodies for God’s glory, which can look completely different for every one in every of us. Demanding that athletes (or anybody) sacrifice their our bodies for the non-public good points of others is thus counterintuitive to the best way of Christ.
In different phrases, it needs to be voluntary if a participant chooses to make that call. That’s what made Jesus’ sacrifice so invaluable: he selected to sacrifice himself for our sins. Insisting that gamers sacrifice their our bodies for our mere leisure ought to due to this fact not sit properly with us.
On Bomani Jones’ The Proper Time podcast, he nailed down precisely why we returned to “enterprise as standard” after Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest. Jones perceived that we acquired again to soccer so quick as a result of Hamlin’s first phrases upon waking up within the hospital had been, “Did we win?” “Now after all, for soccer folks,” Jones mentioned, “they heard that and was like ‘Hell yeah! That’s what I’m speaking about… the sport is an important factor on the planet.’”
If the close to dying of a wholesome, grown grownup soccer participant couldn’t encourage us to pause and respect the whole well being and vitality of the entire human expertise shifting ahead, then I don’t know what’s going to. Certainly, a grade 2 PCL sprain can’t cease us from criticizing an athlete for not placing his physique on the road and probably affecting the long-term standing of his profession.
However what do I do know? I’m only a highschool coach observing all of it from the Coach’s Field.