Sick of professional athletes giving wishy-washy interviews that contribute absolutely nothing?
Well, then have we ever got something for you.
Week 13 in the NFL was a total mess. New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was suspended for an all-time dirty hit on Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White. Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier still is in a hospital with a serious back injury suffered during Monday’s insanely dirty Steelers-Cincinnati Bengals game. Some players have been fined, some have been suspended, some are still in concussion protocol. Like we said: total mess.
That brings us to Steelers safety Mike Mitchell, who sounded off on the NFL’s over-policing of player safety while speaking to reporters Wednesday. Check this out, per The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly:
(Warning: Some of the language in the video is NSFW.)
How’s that for honesty?
Mitchell makes a lot of good points, but he went off rails a bit once the video ended.
OK, so you’re not a real man unless you play football? You’re a “little kid” unless you feel like subjecting your brain to potentially life-altering contact? The NFL is the last bastion of masculinity?
Whatever you say, Mike.
Furthermore, why does the fact you made money and changed your family legacy make the NFL immune to criticism? Things can be both profitable and inherently flawed.
Mitchell’s frustration likely stems from the one-game suspension handed down to Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster for his hit on Bengals linebacker/cheap-shot artist Vontze Burfict. Many have ripped the NFL for giving Smith-Schuster the same penalty it gave Gronkowski, whose hit was among the most indefensible the league has ever seen.
Regardless of how you feel about the hits, the punishments or the people in charge, it’s clear that many inside the The Shield really aren’t sure of what’s OK and what’s not OK. And that level of uncertainty can have dangerous consequences, especially given the inherently violent nature of the product on the field.