In a recent interview with Colin Cowherd, former NFL offensive lineman Kyle Turley claimed that some players took as many as 30 prescription strength pain pills every day in the NFL. The entire interview is worth listening to for anyone interested in the story that emerged earlier this week about the league itself illegally providing painkillers to its players. Says Turley:
The NFL wanted us to continue to be its customer out on the football field, performing the job for them. The fans, the team, everything. And yet we assumed we were getting good advice from the doctors.
At least half the players I’ve played with have been addicted to these painkillers, have been in and out of rehab. At least 50% of the players I’ve played with have.
In his patented contrary way, Cowherd challenged Turley on those statements, intent on holding the players responsible for these latest allegations. I understand where he’s coming from, but I also understand that fifty and sixty year old rich guys are really good at manipulating poor kids under the age of 25 with little infrastructure. If the team doctors were instructed to put a player on the field no matter what, then who were these guys to argue against a licensed professional when guaranteed contracts are a joke in the NFL?
I’m 29-years-old and I didn’t give a crap about my health until about a year ago. It’s a young man thing, and the NFL owners knew for decades that they could pressure these guys, play on their pride, and squeeze them on the field even when they have such ailments as Turley had when he unknowingly had a slipped disc in his back and played a season through it anyways.
Now we’re supposed to blame the guys who got hooked on meds at 21 because they didn’t want to forego millions of dollars in favor of sitting on the sideline? No thanks. The scariest part of this interview comes around the seven minute mark when Cowherd asks about union protection. Turley simply exhales and shrugs. What can you do? As if to say the union was just as bad about the whole thing.
With all the money flowing through professional football in the last fifty years, it’s doubtful that anyone would come out of a thorough investigation of this matter with clean hands, which is why the NFL paid nearly a billion dollars to former NFL players. That settlement appears to be just the beginning, not the end.
Once again, NFL, it’s your move.
Tags: Colin Cowherd