Mark Schlereth on Radio, Player Safety, and Health
Mark Schlereth of ESPN Radio joined Jeff Thurn on Thursday's edition of Overtime on Radio Row from New York City.
Schlereth (@markschlereth) currently co-hosts Sedano and Stink on ESPN Radio, and is a three-time Super Bowl champion. He is a 12-year NFL veteran that played for the Redskins and Broncos.
Schlereth on co-hosting Sedano and Stink:
"I love radio because I like to tell stories. So many times I don't get to do that on the television because everyone wants to jam five pounds of crap into a pound and a half sack. You get to the point where everything is a 25 second soundbite, and you don't get to breath and explain things like you want to. Radio gives you an opportunity to tell stories, have fun, reminisce, and so, I've always enjoyed that aspect of doing radio. That's one of the reasons I've stuck with it."
Schlereth on player safety in the NFL:
"Well, I think the league is full of baloney when it comes to player safety. It truly is about money. It's a knee-jerk reaction and having to give up money. Do they honestly care about who plays this game? No. They care about the bottom-line dollar, and people get mad at me because I bust the league, and they say, "helmet to helmet hits, and this and that.' I get that, that we want to eliminate some of that stuff out of the game, but the implementation of penalties and fines has nothing, in my mind, to do with player safety, and has no bearing on changing the game and culture."
Schlereth on how to change game:
"I'll give you a for instance and why I get so insensitive about it. You're talking about fining a guy for playing football, for doing what he's been coached to do, for flying around and make plays, and a guy lines up as moving target, and at the point of impact, you can't help to protect yourself, and the next thing you know, it becomes a helmet to helmet hit, and we're taking 10, 15, 20, 30,000, 100,000 dollars away from a guy whose average career lasts 3.4 years in the NFL. Then, those same hits we are penalizing guys for, we're making highlight reels out of them. The thing that really irritates me about the NFL is they have control over every highlight we run. So, if they came out and said in respect to player safety and health, if a guy gets hit, and we deem it a finable hit or penalty, you're no longer allowed to show it. It's replayed because they know we are going to play it and makes people excited. Everybody loves the big hit. So, they use it as a marketing too, the same hits they are fining, the same hits they are admonishing players for, they are using it to glorify the league to market this league. That irritates the heck out of me, and I've said this for a very long time, first off, if you want to change the culture, because even if a big hit has been deemed illegal, go to the sideline, watch the tape of coaches and players high-fiving each other and talking about how great it was. I can show you NFL coaches saying, 'that's the way we hit.' Here's my theory, first and foremost, you want to fine guys, take recess away. Make them stand on the sideline in street clothes and make them pay them every penny you owe them."
To hear more of Schlereth's interview with Thurn, listen below: