Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen isn’t necessarily too happy with the NFL’s handling of player safety around the league.
More than that, Olsen appears to be disgruntled over what many perceived to be the league’s unwillingness to protect reigning MVP Cam Newton during Thursday’s regular season opener.
“I think any time you talk about player safety, that’s obviously important,” Olsen said, via Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review. “I just don’t think you can talk about player safety and have what unfolded. You can’t talk out of both sides of your mouth.”
This comes one day after both the NFL and the players union indicated that they were going to run investigations into how the league’s concussion protocol was used on Thursday evening.
Olsen is 100 percent correct in indicating that the NFL talks a good game while stopping short of outwardly protecting players during live play.
That was evident during Carolina’s season-opening loss to the defending champion Denver Broncos. Newton was pounded into oblivion by a Broncos defense that committed what were multiple blatant personal foul penalties (more on that here).
Here are all of the hits Cam Newton suffered to his head last night. (via Reddit) pic.twitter.com/cpRcdUOWso
— FOX Sports Radio (@FoxSportsRadio) September 9, 2016
“Player safety sounds great, is a great offseason rallying cry, sounds awesome,” Olsen continued. “But we got zero yards out of any of those hits. That’s the reality of it.”
Newton’s agent, Bus Cook, likened the pounding his client took to those who went up against the New Orleans Saints during the entire Bountygate scandal. (more on that here).
While that was an obviously subjective statement by a man tasked with representing one of the league’s most-talented players, there’s more to this story than meets the eye.
Broncos safety Darian Stewart indicated after the game that the ultimate goal was to inflict as much punishment on Newton as possible (via Pro Football Talk).
Regardless of all the noise surrounding this situation, one thing is clear. The NFL needs to do a better job instructing officials to protect players from severe head trauma. That didn’t happen in Denver on Thursday night.