ESPN host Stephen A. Smith continued to destroy his own credibility as he called for “someone to be fired” following Tua Tagovailoa’s injury against the Bengals on Thursday Night Football.
Tagovailoa suffered a concussion after he was viciously slammed into the ground by the Bengals’ Josh Tupou.
— MLFootball (@_MLFootball) September 30, 2022
He was then carted off the field via a stretch and taken to Cincinnati Medical Center.
The entire #Dolphins team huddles around Tua Tagovailoa as he’s taken off on a stretcher after taking a vicious sack. Mike McDaniel was the last to leave his side. Wishing Tua the best. 🙏 Sad and Scary scene here. #tnf #whodey @B_Shousejr @DolphinsTalk @ian693 @wsvn pic.twitter.com/xNil1Lv0kh
— Josh Moser (@TheMozKnowz) September 30, 2022
Following the game, Smith called for a firing saying, “Somebody need to be fired. Now, I don’t know who, but somebody got to go. At the very least a suspension.”
“Now, I don’t know if it was the doctors and the trainers that examined him at half time of the Buffalo game put him back in. I don’t know if it’s additional medical personnel that were involved that gave the okay for him to be on the field last night.”
“But listen to what folks have been saying since last night transpired with Tua. They say you had a concussion then obviously it’s easier to get another one. Within a span of a 4 to 5 days. I don’t care what anybody says. I don’t want to hear anything about a back. I didn’t see him hold his back, I didn’t see him put his arms in his back, not one time Sunday.”
“I saw him get up. I saw that gross mobile instability. He got up and he damned near collapsed back down,” Smith said.
Smith then railed at the Dolphins coach, “I’m looking at Mike McDaniels, the coach. I’m wondering, ‘What the hell are you thinking?’ Now, some people will say, ‘Hey, you’re the coach, if the medical staff gives you the okay to play a player then you go ahead and play the player. But you’re a human being you got two eyes you know what you saw out there.”
“I’m looking at the NFLPA, get your investigation going, keep pushing. The NFL, do the same thing. Find out what the hell went on. And guess who else I’m holding accountable to some degree? His teammates,” he concluded.
“Somebody needs to be fired! Now I don’t know who, but somebody got to go.”
— First Take (@FirstTake) September 30, 2022
First off, the Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel reported that his injury against the Bills was a back injury. Tagovailoa exited the game after he was shoved to the ground by Buffalo Bills linebacker Matt Milano.
After taking the hit he got up, shook his head, and then collapsed to the ground.
— Browns Rally Possum (@BrownsRally) September 25, 2022
He eventually returned to the game and led the team to a 21-19 win. After the game McDaniel made it clear it was a back injury, “Now, Tua, he went out with a lower back, and I hadn’t had that rep with him yet.”
McDaniel added, “He kind of got bent back pretty significantly on a quarterback sneak earlier. I was kind of with everyone else. When he hit his head on the ground, I assumed it was a head injury, but his legs got wobbly because his lower back was completely loose and as he described it, he said his lower back was like Gumby or something.”
Tagovailoa also addressed the media explaining it was a back and ankle issue, “I would say it was more the back than the ankle. The ankle was just, I would say, after the game soreness when my legs got caught up under whoever it was on the quarterback sneak.”
When asked about his head, he responded, “I’m fine.”
So as much as Smith wants to reject claims that he injured his back it’s both what he and his coach said was the cause of his exit from the game against the Bills.
Further putting Smith’s conspiracy to rest, McDaniel made it abundantly clear in his post-game press conference following the loss to the Bengals that Tagovailoa suffered a concussion.
He said, “It was a scary moment. He was evaluated for a concussion and he’s in the concussion protocol. He was at the hospital, I believe he’s about to get discharged. That was an emotional moment.”
“That is not part of the deal that anyone signs up for even though you know it’s a possibility in football to have something that you have to get taken off in a stretcher. All of his teammates, myself, we’re all very concerned. The best news that we could get is that everything is checked out, that he didn’t have anything more serious than a concussion. He’ll be flying back with us here on the plane,” he added.
McDaniel would also address the wild conspiracy theories being spouted like Smith’s before he even was able to air it on First Take.
He was asked what led to the determination to play Tagovailoa and responded, “What goes into every one of those decisions, that it starts with your medical staff but then there’s independent specialists that look into it, too. There’s an entire protocol and then you’re talking to the player as well. There’s probably five or six different layers of a process and decision-making like you do with all players.”
When further pressed he said, “Him getting cleared by people. Your standard operating procedure with all players in every single game.”
He was then asked if he could “express with 100 percent certainty that QB Tua Tagovailoa” did not suffer a concussion against the Bills.
McDaniel answered, “Yes, otherwise we would’ve reported him having a head injury. That’s why the NFL has these protocols and there’s, like every single NFL game that is played, an independent specialist that specializes in the specialty of brain matter.”
“For me, as long as I’m coaching here, I’m not going to fudge that whole situation. If there’s any sort of inclination that someone has a concussion, they go into concussion protocol and it’s very strict. People don’t vary or stray. We don’t mess with that, never have, and as long as I’m the head coach that will never be an issue that you guys will have to worry about,” he asserted.
Smith is clearly peddling a conspiracy theory as evidenced by the fact that his whole argument hinges on “what folks have been saying.” What folks are those? Certainly not McDaniel and Tagovailoa?
Do these “folks” have some kind of inside knowledge that McDaniel, Tagovailoa, and the Miami Dolphins organization don’t? Who are these individuals that claim he had a concussion contrary to what McDaniel and Tagovailoa said?
Football is a violent sport and the issue with concussions in the league is well-documented. However, not all injuries are concussions. It’s irresponsible of Smith to peddle this conspiracy without any evidence.
And while Smith doesn’t have any evidence to peddle his conspiracy, him peddling it is another piece of evidence in a mounting case that he really doesn’t have any credibility or integrity and he just makes wild statements to try and get people to watch ESPN.