Business mogul Donald Trump took time out of his busy Republican presidential campaign Monday to warn the NFL that its approach to player safety is starting to become too politically correct.
"I hope they don’t soften the game up too much by the way, I must say," Trump said during an appearance on Colin Cowherd's Fox Sports radio show. "I was reading yesterday they might not do [kickoffs] anymore and eventually you’re not going to have the same game. They have to be careful with that. Don’t make it too politically correct. What we’re doing in the country is that everything has to be [politically correct]. It’s a violent game.”
Despite Trump's warnings, the league has had ample reason to reconsider its approach to player safety. The NFL in the midst of settling a lawsuit with thousands of former players who alleged that the league covered up the dangers of concussions for years. Further research into brain injuries has caused larger concerns over the long-term issues created for players at all levels by repeated blows to the head, and helped start conversations about the safety of the game from youth football on up to the NFL.
This season, the NFL implemented at least five new rules aimed at improving player safety, including one that allows independent spotters to stop games if they suspected a player suffered a brain injury. Whether some of those are working (or can work), particularly in changing the way players approach the game, is still up for dispute, as Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman laid plain earlier this season.
As for Trump's worry that the league might ban kickoffs, that's something NFL commissioner Roger Goodell mentioned in 2012, but there's been little to no discussion of it since.
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