Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks is a smart guy with a Stanford education, but he couldn’t have been more wrong when he said this week that the NFL’s injury reports “are for gamblers.’’
They aren’t for the gamblers. They are to prevent gamblers from getting inside information.
Sherman vented on the injury reports after he was listed questionable Sunday because he missed two practices during the week with a hamstring injury. He then played every defensive snap Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, as he’d done for 92 consecutive games after being listed as questionable.
“I guess from what I understand the rules are for gamblers, for Vegas to make sure the odds and everything are what they are supposed to be, which is apparently what the league is concerned about when talking about injuries and things like that,” Sherman said, according to the Seattle Times. “So maybe someone should look into that, because I thought we weren’t a gambling league or were against all of those things. But our injury report is specifically to make sure the gamblers get their odds right.”
Sherman also was listed as questionable the first weekt week after being listed as questionable in Week 1 because of a thigh injury.
Sherman wasn’t listed on the injury report last season when he suffered a sprained a knee ligament. Since he didn’t miss a practice or a snap, the Seahawks didn’t list him on the injury reports.
When the injury was revealed after the season, the NFL gave the team a warning.
But Sherman made a joking reference to that situation beginning his meeting with the media Wednesday by noting facetiously a toe injury that is healing slowly.
“You’ve got to keep a good eye on these hangnails, because they can spread like wildfire,” he said.
Sherman called the injury reports “meaningless things on paper, even though you are going to play or whatever it is. They’ve got to put that his ankle is sore, his hip is sore or he’s got a bruise on his hand. But guys are tough — if you are going to play, what’s the point?”
The NFL issued a statement explaining the injury reports are to try to stop someone from getting and exploiting inside information.
“Without such a policy, you could envision a potential scenario in which a teammate or team personnel could be approached by a third party to sell inside information about a player’s undisclosed injury that could sideline or inhibit his performance. The policy, which is closely monitored by the league, provides a transparent look at player availability,” the league said.
The NFL didn’t add that the injury reports date back to an attempt to fix the 1946 title game between the Chicago Bears and New York Giants — an attempt that has almost been lost in the mists of history.
The NFL wasn’t the colossus it is today. In fact, the title game wasn’t even the biggest football game played in New York that year. That distinction went to the Army-Notre Dame game that ended in a 0-0 tie.
But even the mayor of New York got involved when reports surfaced that two Giants players were offered a bribe to fix the game. Merle Hapes admitted he got an offer of $2,500 and was suspended for the game. Quarterback Frank Filchock denied he got an offer and was allowed to play. He threw two touchdown passes and six interceptions in a 24-14 loss. Filchock later admitted he got the offer. Both denied getting any money, and Filchock said he didn’t try to fix the game.
Commissioner Bert Bell then suspended both players for not reporting the bribe offers, prompting both players to go play in Canada. Filchock eventually came back to play one game in the NFL in 1950 after being reinstated. He went into coaching and was the first coach of the Denver Broncos.
One fallout of the incident was that the NFL started injury reports that continue to this day, although it would be difficult to even try bribe a player today considering what the players are paid.
And although some teams aren’t always candid, the league investigates if there is a flagrant violation like a player not playing after not being on the report. And they do prevent gamblers from getting inside information.
So the injury reports continue although the format has changed over the years and players like Sherman will continue to complain about them.