The NFL has increased its focus on concussions in recent years, but it has also adopted measures to detect and punish players who fake head injuries. According to NFLPA president JC Tretter, a player was punished this season for faking a concussion.
On Thursday, Tretter published an open letter criticizing the NFL’s disciplinary practices, particularly the monetary penalties. Tretter pointed out that the league tends to be unduly punishing, and he presented one specific tale as an example.
Tretter claims that earlier this season, a player was penalized $50,000 for faking a concussion after being instructed to “go down” by the team’s medical personnel. Even though he had followed all of the required concussion protocols and was cleared to play again, the athlete was nevertheless penalized financially.
A concussion examination was necessary due to the blow to the player’s head; therefore, the jointly selected UNC and AT Spotter took him out of the game, as noted by Tretter. He had a concussion evaluation and had to sit out the next two series. The NFL found that a $50,000 punishment was appropriate even though they place a premium on players reporting their severe injuries.
It’s uncertain whose player Tretter is referring to, but on Oct. 23, Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell urged tight end T.J. Hockenson to “go down” when he got injured. That led many to believe that O’Connell had instructed Hockenson to hurt himself on purpose to avoid using a timeout. However, Hockenson didn’t appear to have had a concussion but rather a leg injury.
Amazingly, neither the athlete nor his representation informed the press about the fine. This is what Saints defensive end Cam Jordan did a year ago when he was caught faking an on-field injury, leading to a $50,000 fine. He voiced his displeasure repeatedly until he was successful in his appeal.
Perhaps the NFL hadn’t learned its lesson after Jordan’s successful appeal. The more the league is criticized for using excessive force, Big Shield might finally back off its aggressive stance.
From 2013 to 2021, Tretter was the starting center for the Green Bay Packers and the Cleveland Browns.