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Owners And Players Can't Agree On "Culture Of The Game Issues"

When the NFL lockout began, we all assumed that money was at the root of this whole dispute and that once the money issue was solved, it would end. Now, I still believe that's true. However, there are other issues at hand here and when you're trying to hammer out an agreement that will govern for your game for the next ten years, those issues become very important.

Specifically, the players are talking about safety and are looking for changes in the way practices, offseasons and more are run. They want a change in the culture of the game.

What the players seek is a reduction in contact drills and full-pad practices, a reduction in offseason workouts, and other changes designed to increase player safety and make violations of rules already in place enforceable. The players' biggest concerns are coaches violating practice and workout rules already in place that are designed to protect their safety.

There are already rules in place to curtail excessive workouts and hitting, but all too often these are simply ignored by coaches and players usually don't speak out. Players are reportedly looking for increased accountability for these kind of violations as well as a reduction in full pad practices.

While the owners have made a big show about their concern for player safety, the players seem to think they're ignoring the day to day problems that lead to injuries and concussions. Research has shown that small, repeated hits to the head lead to long term brain damage, perhaps even more than one big hit does.

This is why players are looking for less full pad practices. These practices are just racking up the number of hits to the head a player is going to take in his career. But are owners sufficiently concerned about preventing concussions that don't stem from an ugly incident where a player is laying motionless on live TV?

So far, they don't seem to be budging... and that's a problem. Like I said earlier, this agreement is expected to govern the next 10 years of this game. If there was ever going to be a moment that a meaningful change can be made to the culture of the NFL and steer it toward being safer... that moment is now. And it's hard to believe that the players can back down on this issue.