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Hornets’ coach Monty Williams not a fan of NBA’s concussion policy

Nov 4, 2012, 5:00 PM EST

Anthony Davis, Monty Williams

Anthony Davis, the number one overal pick in this year’s NBA Draft, missed the Hornets’ 89-82 win over the Bulls in Chicago on Saturday — but not because he wanted to. And his head coach, Monty Williams, has a big problem with that.

Davis suffered a concussion on Friday, and left the game late in the second quarter after taking an inadvertent elbow to the forehead from teammate Austin Rivers. Under the league’s concussion policy, Davis must pass a series of tests and be cleared by a league neurologist before he’s allowed to return to action.

Davis supposedly felt well enough to play against the Bulls, but the league policy prevented him from even traveling to Chicago with the team. Before the game, Williams wasn’t shy about letting everyone know just how he felt about the league’s rules on concussions.

Here are the quotes, via Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago:

“When you’re dealing with the brain, I guess what’s happening in football has impacted everybody,” Williams said before the game. “He got touched up a little bit last night. That happens a lot in basketball. It’s just that now they treat everybody like they have white gloves and pink drawers and it’s getting old. It’s just the way the league is now.”

Poor choice of words from Williams, I think, because what would “pink drawers” imply, exactly? That pink is a color favored by women, and that somehow if a player wore that color he’s less of a man? Not great, obviously. Let’s press on.

“It’s a man’s game,” Williams said. “They’re treating these guys like they’re 5 years old. He desperately wanted to come, but he couldn’t make it.”

Along with the “pink drawers” remark, the “man’s game” comment seems to be more ridiculous macho nonsense. Although giving him the benefit of the doubt here, “man” could just be his way of saying “adult,” when viewed alongside the part about players being treated as children.

“I’m not saying I don’t like (the policy),” Williams said. “We’ve got to protect the players, but I think the players should have more say so in how they feel. I’m sure I had four or five concussions when I played, and it didn’t bother me. The NBA is doing what’s necessary to protect the players, but this is not the NFL. You don’t get hit in the head that much.”

This last part is really the worst of it, once you drop the faux outrage at the political incorrectness of the earlier comments.

The entire reason the league has a concussion policy in place is to protect the players from themselves — and possibly from certain head coaches that might try to tell them to “man up” and play after such a serious injury.

Players are always going to want to play through injury if at all possible; part of the reason they’ve made it to the professional level is because of a competitive drive that is far beyond that of most people. It can’t be up to the player or to the team to make that call, when it would almost always fall on the side of a short-term benefit instead of a concern for the possible long-term effects.

And speaking of short-term versus long-term, we’re talking about a number one overall draft pick missing the third game of his NBA career as a precaution. Is it really worth fighting about? This isn’t Game 7 of the NBA Finals, this is a likely lottery team playing a meaningless November game in the first week of the season.

Williams’ comments on this issue were beyond inappropriate; they were shameful. Expect a fine to be handed down from the league office, and a public apology to be given in the very near future.

  1. ike73 - Nov 4, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    he’s right. these are grown men making a lot of money. stop treating them like women. unfortunately, this is the way the world is going now. it is not a time for men.

  2. dgforreal - Nov 4, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    It’s probably best that they are cautious about concussions with basketball players.

    Outside of wearing a mouthpiece they have no sort of protection against getting their bell rung. If a guy gets dazed with an elbow, then comes back in the game and faceplants then you’re looking at a bigger issue.

    You don’t want a guy running around without their balance, dangerous to them and to other players.

    Maybe I’d think differently if I never saw Glen Davis get his brain liquefied that one time.

  3. eugenesaxe - Nov 4, 2012 at 9:38 PM

    “this is not the NFL. You don’t get hit in the head that much.”

    Sounds like Williams took a few shots to the dome. Also, basketball players don’t wear helmets.

  4. breesus504 - Nov 4, 2012 at 9:39 PM

    I think the issue Monty has is that Davis was not even permitted to fly with the team to the game. Davis is from Chicago and paid money to have friends and family go to the game. That sucks to not even be allowed to go with the team, much less play….

    • dgforreal - Nov 5, 2012 at 12:06 AM

      I read that flying after a concussion isn’t advised and could worsen symptoms so I’m sure it’s just a precaution. Just bad luck for the guy.

  5. 00maltliquor - Nov 5, 2012 at 1:08 AM

    “He got touched up a little bit last night. That happens a lot in basketball. It’s just that now they treat everybody like they have white gloves and pink drawers and it’s getting old. It’s just the way the league is now.”
    Poor choice of words from Williams, I think, because what would “pink drawers” imply, exactly? That pink is a color favored by women, and that somehow if a player wore that color he’s less of a man? Not great, obviously
    ________________________________________________________________________________

    It’s getting sooo old that most people nowadays are so sissyfied you have to be politically correct on everything. Grow a pair. Man up!

    As for Monty, I feel what you are saying but you got to be concerned with the overall health of your players. Concussions can be pretty serious and we are just now scratching the surface of the severity of them. Be patient, Davis will be back next game.

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