NFL commissioner Roger Goodell spoke on the league’s behalf in response to the hottest topic currently regarding the sport.
After a questionable return to action after Week 3, Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was cleared by a now-fired independent doctor, allowing the third-year veteran to suit up for the following matchup.
While attending a fan forum in London on Saturday, Goodell was asked to address the obvious — the Week 4 head and neck injury to Tagovailoa which left the 24-year-old carted off the field and hospitalized.
“Well we’ve been dealing with this for decades, honestly,” Goodell said, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. “An intensive focus, I would say, in the last 15 years where we’ve had medical experts come in and advise us of how to change our game and that includes rules. But it also includes the medical protocols, which I would tell you that the NFL has been the leader of the medical protocols across all sports. People have copied the protocols and we’ve actually shared it with them.”
According to the longtime commissioner, the league, which follows current protocols “strictly,” approached Tagovailoa’s case no differently.
“I would tell you NFL players are getting the most extraordinary care and better than they ever have in the history of the NFL,” Goodell said. “They deserve that. That’s our obligation, and that’s what we need to do. This isn’t different for us. There is more chatter now, for some reason and we understand some of that chatter, but the realities of protocols are really important. We follow that strictly. We see no indication that that didn’t happen in this case.”
However, Goodell did confirm the league’s willingness to take initiative and enact some change.
“We’re also prepared to make a change or two in the protocols because we think we can actually add another element that would make it even safer,” Goodell said.
The NFLA Players Association on Friday came to an agreement seeking immediate revisions to the current concussion protocol amid the reactionary uproar surrounding Tagovailoa. The statement also requested approval from the league prior to this weekend’s upcoming Week 5 contests.