Football Coach Blames Moms for Ruining Best Sport on Earth: Oh, No, He Didn't


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Bruce Arians is the coach of my hometown NFL team, the Arizona Cardinals. He's beloved and known as a hard-nosed, no-nonsense football purist. But if Arians thinks he's going to be able to bully moms out of worrying about the catastrophic effects football can have on our kids' brains, he might want to head back into the huddle and rethink his strategy.

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At a clinic Arians held for more than 130 high school football coaches from across Arizona, the Cardinals head coach decided to take the opportunity to call out moms for ruining football with all their pansy concerns about their children's brains being bashed in day after day. His statement wasn't just stupid, it was offensive.

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"We feel like this is our sport," Arians told the group. "It's being attacked, and we got to stop it at the grassroots. It's the best game that's ever been f***ing invented, and we got to make sure moms get the message, because that's who's afraid of our game right now. It's not dads, it's moms."

Really? I'm pretty sure it's more than just moms. NFL Hall of Fame Coach Mike Ditka says he "wouldn't let his son play football today." There's a list of other football greats including Drew Brees, Troy Aikman, and Terry Bradshaw who also came out and said they wouldn't let their sons play football. Then there's Dr. Bennet Omalu, the man whom the movie Concussion was based on, who thinks kids playing football is a pretty bad idea for their brains. I could go on.

The risk to kids' brains associated with football is more than just a hunch dreamed up by a bunch of pearl-clutching mother hens. To dismiss the safety issues surrounding football, particularly to a room full of high school coaches, is to really miss the point in a very galling way. Instead of taking that time to preach the virtues of safety and clean hitting and fair play -- ways those coaches could truly have an impact on how the game is viewed -- Arians used his time to influence those coaches to dismiss safety concerns as a bunch of meddling mommies who need to be "stopped."

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Best of luck with that, man.

If you think a group of NFL linebackers are tough, try wrangling a group of moms who think you're jeopardizing their kids' safety. See, Bruce, we moms, and plenty of dads too, spend a lot of time trying to keep our kids from bonking their noggins and getting brain damage, so it seems a little counter-productive to sign them up for a leisure activity that is linked to brain damage. This isn't moms attacking football, it's concerned parents protecting their kids from unnecessary risk that could ruin their lives. Color me reactionary, but that's kind of a big deal, right?

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Since the statements have been made public, Arians has tried to clarify, but he still doesn't seem to really get it.

Arians isn't a bad guy. He's a great coach, and Cardinals fans love his fire. Let's remember, Arians was the first head coach to hire a female assistant -- the amazing Jen Welter. So I'm not ready to break up with Bruce altogether.

But he can't dismiss the fact that a shocking number of kids die playing high school football -- 92 between 2005 and 2014 alone. It's a mother's worst fear. We're really sorry if it messes up your game, but our kids' safety will always be more important. There's just no "stopping" that.

 

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