The NFL and the NFLPA: An Ethical Review of Creation and Destruction In the Role of Player Health

By: Fred Jankilevich

Attorney At Law

(A.k.A. Federico DaFranca)

February 2019

All Rights Reserved 2019


During the past couple of months, we have visited different aspects of the NFL and the NFLPA as pertains player health. As a result, we will herein further the previous essays by evaluating the role of health ethics in NFL Player Health Policies.


In terms of the scientific role of twenty first Century medical sciences as creator(s) and destructor(s), a review of the first two articles in this three-part series allows us to infer that strengthening inter-league coordination is more likely to yield better player health than not. In this sense, less protectionism across the NFL health provisions may strengthen interleague coordination and lead to better metrics in terms of athlete wellness (for a review of differing parameters please re-visit: “Comparative League Evaluation” / HLS on Player Health Promotion and Protection). Thus, if policymakers want to build instead of harm, the future must seek less politics and more cohesion.


Further thus its possible to infer that more evidence is necessary in the defensive stance of protectionist deterrence. Therefore, its important to formulate the question: To what extent are the NFL’s present protectionist policies in favour of advocating for a control of the factors that our current understanding of league player policies ensure the betterment of players as human beings?


In a world of increased awareness of threat and risk as key factors in player health, professional stability and long-term development, it has become recurrently necessary to formulate and re-formulate the governance of player policies to strengthen security and long-term well being.


As result its significant to ponder: What is the historical draft and re-draft of such-said policies? To what extent have these policies been well-received by: a) The League b) The players themselves? What has been the terminal result? Are those historical factors better than the present policies presently in place? If so, to what extent and why?


While the purpose of this article is to raise new ethical questions and not answer them, in the light of the above-stated questions raised its important to establish a series of parameters for the research of player health and the resulting intra-league player policies that are consequent of such-said research. Furthermore, the following inquiries are raised as a result thereof: Who are the participants of quantitative research in the field and why? To what extent and how? For what duration? Under what supervision with which defined parameters?


The conclusion of this short brief is that field empiricism is insufficient. The underlying motivation for this conclusion is the present observance of intra-league policies within the NFL and the NFLPA and the resulting statistics. Nevertheless, conservatism also raises further questions as pertains: Why is the NFL so conservative and persistent on prevailing as such? It’s possible that one of the underlying answers may be player behaviour. Another hypothesis is physician conduct as a result of dealing with very high professional risk and obligations, i) to their clients ii) to the league itself.


Therefore, its relevant to stand out player behaviour and physician integrity as two potential essential aspects of short-term prospective research. Additionally, an interleague evaluation similar to the general interleague evaluation is necessary to determine the yield of player behaviour and physician integrity as a result of the current policies in place. Responsible conduct and integrity on both sides of the coin must be carefully measured and evaluated within the league and across other leagues.


Another factor relevant to the review of excessive protectionism as presently affects the current state of the NFL and NFLPA is the increasing interdependency between the business of football and the industry itself. What does the dark-side of science have to say in terms of current player policies? How does this afflict player health, professional trajectory and physician status?


Additionally, its important to evaluate how controversy and criticism arises in present policies. To what extent are moral strength and commitment determining factors? To what extent is protectionism a resulting policy vacuum i) Within the league ii) Across other leagues in comparison with the NFL and NAFPA? To what extent are the current policies in place a moral or political act of authority? To what extent is the present policy system in place an authority to the league itself and other leagues in the USA?


Finally, its important to stand out that an increasing interdependence between player health and intra-league policies are the result of science and technology in the Twenty First Century. Thus, in order to have a transparent player policy that is blithe with programmatic ideals of health and the value of players as human beings, a further distinction between these underlying factors must be established. In the mid-term, this will aid to narrow the gap between nature and nurture, between corporate politics and the genuine, legitimate well-being of the players in the NFL.






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