NFLPA could investigate Skins over RG III

January, 10, 2013
1/10/13
8:37
PM ET
According to Mark Maske at The Washington Post, the NFL Players Association could decide as soon as Friday whether or not to start a formal inquiry into the Washington Redskins' handling of Robert Griffin III's knee injury in Sunday's game. The NFLPA, which already has expressed displeasure about the field conditions at FedEx, is interested in finding out if Redskins coach Mike Shanahan circumvented the team's medical staff in deciding to keep Griffin in the game after he re-injured his knee:
Under the CBA, the league and union have a joint committee on player safety and welfare. The CBA gives the union the right “to commence an investigation before the Joint Committee if the NFLPA believes that the medical care of a team is not adequately taking care of player safety.”

If the union initiates a formal inquiry under that provision, two or more independent physicians would be chosen to conduct an investigation and issue a report. The CBA says that “their recommendations as to what steps shall be taken to address and correct any issues shall be acted upon by the Joint Committee.”
According to a person with knowledge of the situation, the union’s focus is whether the Redskins followed the recommendations of their medical staff about when to play Griffin. The union’s probe does not focus on coaching decisions made by Mike Shanahan, other than the issue of whether he followed the recommendations of doctors, the person said.

The union is doing what it needs to do to make sure it protects its players, but I would not expect this to lead to anything. It's going to be awfully difficult to prove, even if it's true, that Shanahan ignored the advice of team doctors when he and Griffin made the decision to let Griffin keep playing. And the coach's decision to keep the player in the game is not really pertinent to this provision of the CBA. The player's medical care is. Redskins team physician James Andrews examined Griffin on the sideline during the first quarter Sunday and was involved in the decision to allow him to keep playing. So I imagine this is just a formality.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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