NFL Star Richard Sherman Blasts League Over Lack of Player Safety: "It Would Affect the Ratings"
"We really don't have a reason to trust the NFL, and I don't think they mind either way," the Seattle Seahawks player says.
Richard Sherman blasted the NFL on Thursday, saying the league doesn't care about players' health and safety, just its bottom line.
In a black-and-white video done by The Players' Tribune, the Seattle Seahawks' cornerback said the NFL cares about TV ratings to sell merchandise, and that is why Carolina Panthers' star quarterback Cam Newton was allowed to stay in the first game of the regular season after taking numerous blows to the head by Denver Broncos players.
"It's hard to stress players' safety in such a violent game, because at the end of day, ratings sell. … People are going to come to the game regardless," Sherman says to the camera. "I think sometimes the public gets confused by the league-player relationship, thinking it needs to be amicable to work. And it doesn't. It just doesn't need to be that way."
Broncos' safety Darian Stewart and linebacker Brandon Marshall were both fined by the league for their hits to Newton.
Sherman stresses that Newton should have been pulled from the Denver game but wasn't because "it would affect the ratings. It would affect the [close] game," he says. Denver won 21-20.
The Super Bowl 50 rematch earned an overnight 16.5 rating among households, which was down from the 17.7 rating for the comparable game last year, when the Patriots faced the Steelers. According to NBC's total audience delivery metric, 25.4 million people watched the Sept. 8 season opener.
In the Thursday video, Sherman talks for more than four minutes, sharing his bleak outlook on the league. "We really don't have a reason to trust the NFL, and I don't think they mind either way."
"They have to do enough to keep the players in good enough shape to go out there and perform, and that's the degree they care," he continues. "Once they don't have to deal with a player, once a player isn't on their roster, then they don't care. That's the relationship we have with the league. They're going to use us until our time is up, and then they're going to find someone else."
The NFL did not immediately respond to a request for comment.