NFL should not be held responsible for players’ legal issues, medical expenses

By Kevin Spitz

The NFL undoubtedly has tons of money. It is the most successful sports league ever in the United States. Each team sells out almost every single game. League parity keeps every team’s and fan’s hopes alive (besides the Buffalo Bills) that their team will win it all this year, and the Super Bowl is by far the biggest spectacle in American sports. So with all this money laying around, it’s easy to understand why the NFL is such a big target.

Just over a year ago, Tommy Urbanski, a bouncer in Las Vegas, was paralyzed in a fight that got out of hand involving the NFL’s Adam “Pacman” Jones. Now, Urbasnki’s wife Kathy is saying that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell reneged on a comment he made earlier this year claiming he would help the Urbanskis with medical expenses.

I think that everyone can agree that what happened to Urbanski and his family is terrible. The man will never be the same and hospital bills can get out of control. But at the same time, I have to agree with Goodell and the NFL on this one. Why is it the NFL’s fault that Pacman Jones did this to a man, especially during the off-season?

Kathy Urbanski says that NFL representatives told her that they would give them financial help, Goodell says that promise was never made, and overall it is unclear who actually ended up saying what. But the NFL still should not be a target for one man’s actions.

There is a single entity at fault here, and it’s the one that actually shot the man and caused this to happen. Why not place blame where blame is due? Leave the Tennessee Titans and NFL out of it. Punish Pacman Jones and set an example for others.

Personally, I have been very impressed with Goodell as a commissioner so far. He has taken a no nonsense approach to disciplining players in the league, and at the same time, is able to clearly identify which issues the NFL should deal with and those they shouldn’t.

Another very interesting NFL case has to do with older, retired players from the league. With their health deteriorating, they are beginning to blame the NFL for problems they’re experiencing.

Granted, the problems they are experiencing are long term football injuries, but is it fair to blame the current NFL for their problems? Things were very different in football through the 1950s. There was a different attitude for football players back then. They threw their bodies on the line a lot more than players do now. Obviously medicine was not as advanced then, and protective gear is certainly better in today’s game.

Once again, it’s a matter of personal responsibility, though. These players knew they were playing a rough game, and they did it anyway. Each person’s reason for playing might be different, but at the same time you can’t sue the sun when you’re 70 years old for a lifetime’s worth of skin damage from tanning.

There was a risk involved with playing the game back then that they knew they were taking. Any money that the NFL gives them should be a gift, along with any money the NFL may give to the Urbanski’s. It should be thought of as a gift and not as fault.

Free Throws

Well, to sum it up really quickly, I ran out of time this week to find someone to shoot free throws (and I am out of money). But rest assured, I almost certainly would have given away $10 again this week. Illinois once again was able to shoot free throws decently in a contest that wasn’t decided by free throws against Minnesota, but when it came to big, bad Penn State, a one point loss was accompanied by 50 percent shooting from the line in the second half.

I promise to be better next week, so e-mail me at [email protected] if you want to be a part of the action.

Kevin Spitz is a senior in Engineering. He can be reached at [email protected]