All organizations have the ethical and moral duty of ensuring their employees are protected from dangers caused by their work. In fact, it is both a moral and legal obligation of persons in authority to inform all stakeholders of the possible risks that may be incurred by engaging with them. Legally, a failure to inform the stakeholders is an act of negligence. From a moral perspective, the “rights theory’ require individuals to protect the interest and safety of all stakeholders. Unfortunately, the NFL has failed in its ethical duty of protecting players from risks associated with constant head injuries when playing football. In particular, the league has exposed players to collisions, during the sport, that lead to chronic trauma and encephalopathy (Harvard Medical School, 2016). In addition, it has also concealed crucial information about the risks that may be caused by these collisions from their players.
The unfortunate issue about this issue is that the NFL became aware of the severity if head collisions in as early as 1979 when they established the Deacon Jones Rule. Nonetheless, the league has continuously watered down this issue by constantly assuring players that they are safe even after having a concussion. In light of this, NFL has been negligent in failing to warn players of potential risks involved in the sport. The league has also failed to warn players of the risks involved in playing after incurring an injury. In addition, the league has also committed fraud by misinforming players that there are no long-term repercussions from repeated trauma (Gove, 2012).
To correct this problem, NFL will have to change the rules and regulations in the sport. In particular, it will have to minimize the level of physical contact and collusion in the sport. It can enhance this by ensuring the sport entails more of kicking the ball and running. While there have been a few case of the ethical concerns of the game, NFL has been able to modify the sport such as moving the kicking team’s own thirty-yard line to thirty-five-yard line. Generally, this aimed at ensuring that most of the kicked balls reached the final yard, which in turn reduced the number of collisions in the sport. Moreover, most cases have been unable to make a clear link between the injured player and negligence or fraud on the part of NFL. Therefore, the linkage of Junior Seau with negligence and fraud on the side of NFL, which made this player to have neurodegenerative disease CTE could make the league lose its case (Wilhame, 2015).
To sum up, NFL should rise to the occasion and implement new policies that will ensure that this sport is safer to the players. It should also ensure that these players are fully aware of the risks they are exposed to when they play this game. Finally, it should own up to its negligence and fraud and compensate the injured athletes.
Gove, J. (2012). Three and out: The NFL’s concussion liability and how players can tackle the problem. Anderbilt J. of Ent. and Tech. Law, Vol 14, No. 3: 649-692.
Harvard Medical School. (2016). Legal and ethical factors that affect NFL players’ health. Science Daily. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161117155506.htm
Wilhame, M. (2015). “Brain disease CTE found in 87 of 91 NFL players tested, researchers say.” Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from http://www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/la-sp-sn-nfl-brain-disease-87-of-91-deceased-football-players-tested-20150918-story.html