Friday, October 21, 2011

The Curse of the China Doll

A little-noticed fluff piece on today revealed that Sean Payton, head coach of the New Orleans Saints, apparently has a habit of giving his injured players china dolls. If that's the case, I think that would have a seriously negative effect on injured players. 

From the player's perspective in the NFL, the front office is always trying to replace you. There is tremendous pressure on every player but the superstars, all the time, to stay on the field and make plays. This leads to players concealing or downplaying injuries in an effort to look good, which leads to their quality of play declining and can often lead to them getting cut. If the coach is actively mocking players with injuries and accusing them of being fragile, as the china doll gift suggests, that puts even more pressure on those players and can hurt their careers. It also leads to a poor outcome for the football team, if the player never lives up to his talent level because of injuries that never got a chance to heal. 

Jack Bechta of the National Football Post says it much more eloquently than I do, but our point is the same: this is a really bad thing for injured players.

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