It was reported that Atlanta Falcons defensive end Ra’Shede Hageman had suffered a fractured wrist as a result of a fight he had in practice with Falcons center Joe Hawley. Falcons head coach Mike Smith has condemned fighting in NFL training camps, as most coaches do. While others don’t necessarily encourage it but don’t particularly go out of their way to discourage it either.
As it turns out Hageman didn’t fracture his wrist in the fight, but the fact is he could have. And the question that can be asked is would it have even been worth it? Every year when NFL training camps begin, fights between players are always one of the top camp stories reported by the media. As players fighting one another is sure to get people talking.And media coverage of the fights seems to possibly serve as a reason for players to fight more, as it attracts attention like we saw with the Dallas Cowboys recently. Sometimes it’s just players trying to force their will onto another player. And when neither side wants to give in then a fight escalates.
Other times it’s a certain player coming in practice with the intention of picking a fight. And then someone obliges them. Some fans say they like it when players fight in NFL camps or in a game as they think it signifies that players on the team are competing hard and setting a tone for the season.
And that type of aggression is something that makes the NFL so appealing in a way that many fans see players fighting as a good thing because it has a way of firing up a fans themselves. And really the only bad thing that can come from a training camp fight is if one of the players involved gets injured punching a helmet or in some other way.
But as much as coaches appear to discourage fighting in practice, sometimes I think they like to see it happen just as much if not more than the fans do. Coaches preach physicality and aggressiveness to their players and push them to that edge hoping they won’t cross over it.
But there’s a price to pushing players that hard, as sometimes they get so fired up that they inevitably do cross over the edge. Playing in the NFL is not for the timid or soft minded, and at times that aggressive nature can go into overload. So as longs as players don’t hurt each other I’d say a good tussle in camp can be a good thing.
It sends a clear message to the fans that your team isn’t going to be intimidated, and it says the stakes are so high that players are doing whatever it takes to be physical and set a tone of being a tough-minded team. What do you think? Is fighting in practice a god thing or bad?