NFL Players Association reacts to Thursday’s incident and promises full investigation

Executive Director of the NFL Players Association, DeMaurice Smith, joins us to speak about if strict rules were violated in the Tua Tagovailoa incident.
4:01 | 10/01/22

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:

{{nextVideo.title}}

{{nextVideo.description}}

Skip to this video now

Now Playing:

{{currentVideo.title}}

Comments
Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for NFL Players Association reacts to Thursday’s incident and promises full investigation
TUA SAID HE WAS FEELING MUCH BETTER AND FOCUSING ON RECOVERING. >> SO MANY QUESTIONS. THANK YOU. THE NFL PLAYERS ASSOCIATION REACTING SWIFTLY TO THURSDAY'S INCIDENT PROMISING A FULL INVESTIGATION ON WHETHER THE STRICT RULES ON HEAD INJURIES WERE VIOLATED. JOINING ME IS THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE NFL PLAYERS ASSOCIATION. DEMAR RIS SMITH. THERE ARE SO MANY QUESTIONS. WITHIN AN HOUR WHEN TUA WAS QUESTIONABLY BACK IN THE SECOND HALF YOU GUYS AT THE PLAYERS ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCED YOU WERE INITIATING AN INVESTIGATION. WHAT'S THAT ENTAIL? HOW MUCH MORE SCRUTINY WILL THIS GET FOLLOWING WHAT HAPPENED THURSDAY? >> WELL, THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME ON THIS MORNING. THERE'S GOING TO BE A FULL INVESTIGATION AND THAT INVESTIGATION STARTED IN EARNEST LAST WEEK. IT FOCUSES ON REALLY TWO THINGS. ONE, WHETHER THE PROTOCOLS WERE FOLLOWED WHEN THERE WAS AN OBVIOUS INDICATION THAT HE MAY HAVE SUFFERED A TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY LAST WEEK. THE SECOND FOCUS THAT WE HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO UNDER THE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT IS TO LOOK AT THE DECISION OF THE MEDICAL PERSONNEL AND PRIMARILY TO ENSURE THAT THEY WERE TREATING THIS PLAYER LIKE WE WANT ALL OF OUR PLAYERS TREATED, LIKE A PATIENT FIRST INSTEAD OF A PLAYER FIRST. >> DEMARIS, ONE OF THE THINGS YOU SAID IS YOU WILL INVESTIGATE WHETHER THOSE PROTOCOLS WERE FOLLOWED. PLAYERS DISPLAYING GROSS MOTOR STABILITY. THAT'S A NO GO. THIS COMES UP TO THURSDAY. WE ALL SAW TUA STUMBLING AFTER THAT HIT AND WHAT LOOKED EXACTLY LIKE GROSS MOTOR INSTABILITY. HOW COULD HE HAVE BEEN CLEARED TO RETURN TO PLAY ON SUNDAY? >> WELL, THAT'S THE GOAL OF THE INVESTIGATION AND I SAW IT AS WELL AND I'VE BEEN IN THIS JOB LONG ENOUGH NOT ONLY TO SEE SOMEONE ENGAGE AT A TIME ON THE FIELD WHERE IT LOOKS LIKE THEY'VE SUFFERED A TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY I'VE BEEN IN THIS JOB LONG ENOUGH TO KNOW THAT THE GOAL OF THE COLLECTIVE BARGAIN AGREEMENT, THE REASON WE WROTE THE PROTOCOLS BACK IN 2011 IS WE WANT OUR DOCTORS TO TREAT OUR PLAYERS AS PATIENTS FIRST. WHEN YOU LOOK AT WHAT HAPPENED LAST WEEK, WHEN WE ALL SAW HIM STUMBLING ON THE FIELD, THE FIRST QUESTION I ALWAYS HAVE IS WOULD THAT DOCTOR HAVE PUT HIS SON OR HIS DAUGHTER BACK IN THE GAME? YEAH, THE PROTOCOLS ARE DESIGNED TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THEY VIEW A TRAUMATIC INCIDENT LIKE THAT, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, THE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT WANTS TO MAKE SURE THAT DOCTORS TREAT THEM AS PATIENTS FIRST. >> YOU SAID THOSE PROTOCOLS WERE PUT IN PLACE IN 2011, SO OVER 10 YEARS AGO. THE TEAM SAID THEY WENT ABOVE AND BEYOND CHECKING HIM. WHOSE RESPONSIBILITY IS IT TO PROTECT THESE PLAYERS FROM THEMSELVES, THESE ELITE ATHLETES WHO THEY LIVE TO COMPETE. WHO SHOULD BE PROTECTING THEM? >> THANKFULLY IT'S NOT A QUESTION OF SHOULD. EVERY EMPLOYER UNDER THE LAW HAS AN OBLIGATION TO DO THEIR BEST TO PROTECT THE EMPLOYEES. WE HAVE A MULTI--LAYERED SYSTEM THAT IS DESIGNED TO MAKE SURE THAT SOMEONE HAS EYES ON A PLAYER ON THE FIELD. SO THAT RESPONSIBILITY STARTS WITH THE TEAM DOCTOR, IT STARTS WITH EVERY PERSON ON THE TEAM WHO HAS A JOB OF PROVIDING MEDICAL CARE. THERE IS A NEUTRAL UNAFFILIATED TRAUMATIC CONSULTANT PAID FOR BY BOTH THE NFL PA AND THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE. IT'S THAT PERSON'S CALL AT THE END OF AN ANALYSIS TO MAKE A DECISION ABOUT WHETHER THE PERSON GOES IN, BUT THE IDEA OF WRITING THIS ENTIRE THING WAS TO PUT EVERYBODY ON NOTICE THAT IT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF PROTECTING PLAYER SAFETY. AND THE CONCERN THAT WE HAVE IS WHETHER OR NOT EVERYBODY INVOLVED IN THIS CHAIN ACTED IN A WAY TO TREAT THE PLAYER AS A PATIENT FIRST RATHER THAN A PLAYER FIRST. >> SO MANY PEOPLE WONDERING EXACTLY THAT.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"duration":"4:01","description":"Executive Director of the NFL Players Association, DeMaurice Smith, joins us to speak about if strict rules were violated in the Tua Tagovailoa incident.","mediaType":"default","section":"ABCNews/GMA","id":"90819066","title":"NFL Players Association reacts to Thursday’s incident and promises full investigation","url":"/GMA/News/video/nfl-players-association-reacts-thursdays-incident-promises-full-90819066"}