The latest example of that mentality comes from LaVar Arrington, the former Washington Redskins linebacker, who unleashed an epic rant against Redskins running back Clinton Portis, suggesting that Portis lacks toughness for sitting out the second half of the season after suffering a concussion in the eighth game of the year.
Dan Steinberg of the D.C. Sports Bog has the complete audio and a full transcript of Arrington's rant, in which he talked about a lot more than just concussions. But the part I want to focus on is this, in which Arrington is contrasting his own reaction to suffering a concussion with Portis's:
I had the same injury. Knocked unconscious in a game. Went in the locker room, got myself together, and oh yeah, I came back out and intercepted a ball against the Carolina Panthers and got a touchdown that some would say helped turn that season around, where we won eight games straight. A concussion. That's what I was diagnosed with, a concussion. "I came out and I strapped up and I played. I played. And I played for the fans of D.C., and I played for my teammates, and I played and I led as a leader. Not with my mouth. With my actions.Obviously, what Arrington is saying is that he's a better player and a better leader than Portis because he played with a concussion, while Portis sat out with a concussion.
Unfortunately, that's a common point of view among NFL players. And that demonstrates why concussions are such a vexing problem for the NFL. The league wants to protect the players, but many players are like Arrington: They don't want to be protected.