Now you understand why the concussion problem in sports is never going away, ever. Or if you havent seen the Newark Star-Ledger piece on the Giants and 49ers, youre about to do so.
To summarize, the Giants apparently targeted Kyle Williams because of his history of concussions. To fill out that story, we turn to columnist Steve Politi:
The thing is, we knew he had four concussions, so that was our biggest thing . . . to take him outta the game, said Jacquian Williams, who forced the overtime fumble.
In addition, Devin Thomas, the reserve wide receiver who recovered both that fumble and the fourth quarter one that set up New Yorks second touchdown, said Kyle Williams was a person of particular interest.
Hes had a lot of concussions, Thomas told Star-Ledger columnist Steve Politi. We were just like, We gotta put a hit on that guy. (Safety Tyler) Sash did a great job hitting him early and he looked kind of dazed when he got up. I feel like that made a difference and he coughed it up.
While we cant know if the Sash hit discombobulated Williams, or if this is a piece of information that comes from coaches to players (as opposed to player-on-player pregame prep) the fact that the Giants would take satisfaction in the strategy explains much about the way many players regard each other. And almost certainly football isnt the only venue for such headhunting.
Now we can expect denials all around as this story picks up heat, as provided by Deadspins distillation of the New York Magazine distillation of the internet reports from Sundays game. But lets play with the very real possibility that the truth is found in the unvarnished reports.
It means that heads remain fair game in sports, and that cranial issues are just grist for the Darwinian mill. And that all the attempts to clean up head shots in the games we watch are valueless as long as the players who deliver them are proud of having done so and enjoy the competitive advantages that comes from them.
It may also point to the victims reluctance to report head issues, or to coaches disinterest in knowing about them. It certainly puts the injured shoulder story Williams father Ken advanced on Monday in a different light, and makes the death threats Kyle received that much more craven.
Frankly, it changes the entire Kyle Williams story, and presents the NFL with a new and more frightening twist about the game it presents as entertainment, and those who view it as such.
This is, in short, a story that a lot of people will want to move past as quickly as possible as the Super Bowl hype begins to crest, and as Kyle Williams career advances. But it should be placed in memory as a reminder that the depth of the head injury problem is far greater and more frightening than anyone associated with the business should find comfortable.