Over the years, the number of concussions in the NFL has increased massively. Between 2014 and 2015, the concussion percent rose over 30%. The most common reason for concussions in the NFL is head on head contact, which is why they banned “head slaps” for good. The NFL continues to think of new rules and policies that could possibly decrease the amount of concussions. For example, they’ve advanced the “roughing the passer” penalty to make it more strict and inclusive, as well as the “unnecessary roughness” penalty. So the question is, what are more effective ways the NFL could further prevent concussions?
In my opinion, the only reason NFL players still occasionally “bump heads” intentionally is because the consequence is bearable and not intimidating. The highest penalty for “unsportsmanlike conduct” is 15 yards in the current game. I think the consequence should be more lasting and punishing. I believe if a player is clearly headbutting on purpose and continuously, there should be talk of a possible suspension. The only thing 15 yards accomplishes is maybe a yell from the coach, but a short 1, maybe 2 game suspension will surely prevent players from making the same mistake. Also, most players keep quiet if they notice double vision, blurriness, or other symptoms of a concussion. They would rather play in the game and not miss any opportunity to compete. If players told someone right away if they were experiencing any symptoms, it would prevent their concussion from getting even worse. Even if this strategy won’t technically prevent concussions, it would stop the players from making the injury even worse. If a player notices any concerning symptoms, they should tell their coach immediately. Lastly, there are some ways players could prevent concussions by just being more aware on the field and knowing some strategies during play. All in all, even though the NFL has managed to decrease concussion numbers over the years, I think with these strategies, they could really put NFL concussions in the past.
In North Carolina, 9-year old Emanyea Lockett was suspended for two whole days after a substitute teacher overheard Emanyea tell his friend he thought a teacher was ‘cute.’ In the eyes of the school, this was a form of sexual harassment. Emanyea didn’t even know what that term meant until he was suspended for his comment. He admitted to saying that his teacher was cute. “I said Ms. Taylor was cute, and that’s it,” Emanyea reports, “That’s all I said.” And apparently that is all he did say, and yet was still on the receiving end of out of school suspension. The school said he was suspended for “inappropriate behavior and inappropriate statements.” Emanyea’s mother disagrees with the punishment. She said “It’s not like he tried to [be aggressive]. So why would he be suspended for two days?”
By the school’s code of conduct, a student could be suspended for up to five days for class disruption. There was nothing to support suspension of this, nothing to indicate it was sexual harassment. However, Emanyea’s comment was overheard by a substitute teacher in a private conversation between Emanyea and his friend. Emanyea didn’t even say it to his teacher. The substitute submitted a complaint and Emanyea was suspended. Emanyea got punished for something almost every adolescent goes through, having a crush. But there was something very wrong with him saying his teacher was ‘fine,’ according to the principal.
A letter was sent home to Chiquita Lockett, Emanyea’s mother, saying that Emanyea had been warned against his use of offensive language. Chiquita reported never having been informed of these warnings before. She said it was the first she had heard about her son using bad language about other students. Emanyea admits to the ‘cute’ comment, but denies ever using inappropriate remarks of other students.
The school board apologised for suspending the fourth-grader. The principal resigned after the district determined there was no sexual harassment. Chiquita said the letter of response and apology should be seen by everyone, “just to know what is happening inside our school systems.” She said she was encouraged by the school’s response. Emanyea will receive help for the work he missed on suspension and the offence will not be held against him.