I don’t want to knock LeBron for being a poor role model here, because most media outlets stopped presenting him as any sort of paragon of high character around the time of The Decision. But his comments do help underscore how sports leagues can’t just reverse common conceptions of concussions with a new policy or strict rules against blows to the head. More than anything, it’s a cultural issue, with players being told to play through pain from a young age.
What is Eric Freeman of “Ball Don’t Lie” on Yahoo! getting on LeBron James for? How about this;
As the questioning about the game winded down, James was asked whether he had ever suffered a concussion in his life. James smiled for the first time in the interview and delivered his reply with an attempt at humor.
“No, I’m too tough for that,” James said.
Tom Haberstroh of “Heat Index” on ESPN.com wrote about the incident which saw LeBron down and appearing as though he suffered enough disruption of brain function (see concussion) that he could not rise to his feet on his own;
LeBron James tried to get up from the floor, but his body wouldn’t let him. A second attempt to rise under his own power was unsuccessful and he descended back to the ground. He laid there for two minutes without a word, clutching his head and deliberately blinking his eyes as if to jump start his consciousness. […]
James could not get up without the help of his teammates and coaching staff. Sabol walked alongside James to the bench and asked him a few questions about the clock and score as James sat down.
Not a good joke, especially since countless of young people look up to James. Playing though an injury is part of sports, but NOT PART OF SPORTS is playing through a brain injury, also known as a concussion.
If you add this incident with the Kobe cluster*explicative it merely shows that the NBA concussion policy is nothing more than window dressing for the “stars” of the league. Perhaps Mr. David Stern can bring me in for some educational awareness on behalf of the medical community, and to really let the players know what these kind of comments mean to the younger people. Even if in a joking context, that statement gets played only as being too tough for concussions; something we don’t want kids to emulate.