When the game doesn’t matter anymore

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Screen Shot 2023 01 03 at 7.16.06 AM
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Luke Jones and Nestor react to the scene in Cincinnati after Damar Hamlin injury and impact on NFL


game, thought, nfl, cincinnati, talking, incident, players, nature, people, ravens, happened, reacting, friends, literally, play, monday night, hamlin, carted, football, baltimore

Nestor Aparicio  00:01

What about w n s t Towson, Baltimore and Baltimore positive Happy New Year everyone out there we will be putting the Maryland crabcakes we’re back together again put the band back together again this year with friends starting with Jean a Coney Island hot dog in White Marsh no longer an island down. So looking forward to seeing Andy out there next Thursday. All the brought to you by our friends to Marilyn Waterhouse from scratch offs giveaway as well as our friends at Goodwill. And when donation 866 90. They should do what I did get new windows, I tell you what’s 20 degrees on Christmas Eve and it was quite pleasant inside my joint. It’s been a strange week. I don’t need to tell you. I think everyone who cares about the ravens and who likes football and those who wager on it. We’re all watching watching the Cincinnati Bengals in the Buffalo Bills on Monday night and just just an unprecedented evening. Luke Jones gonna join me now, as we chat in his very early on Tuesday morning, full disclosure. So if you’re hearing this on Wednesday, or Thursday and 57 You’re finding it at a Baltimore positive or on the podcast or wherever you find us these days. There’s 10s of 1000s of you we do appreciate every one of you. But Monday night everything sort of went into some state of suspension. The minute this incident happened and Luke I want to bring in just because the minute have happened for me. I’ve been to more NFL games than you right I’m I’ve been doing this a long time in press boxes there where you get injury reports and every chance deals got his little earpiece down on the field and they’re giving reports back up and when there’s an incident or a carded incident. God forbid, we’ve, you’ve been at this 15 years I’ve been at this 27 years. I often wondered, what’s the emergency emergency emergency plan after what we saw with Reggie Brown many years ago, Mike Utley many years ago. Ryan she’s here. I go through these incidents, but I thought I don’t want to know what happens. But they need to know what happens. They need to have a plan for this. And the first guy I hit was pica, you know instantly, because he’s in a nerve center. And he’s worked in those jobs in New Orleans Atlanta that something happens, what happens? And I guess we find out look, it’s it’s moment to moment when this sort of situation happens. And I don’t even know where to pick the pieces up less than 12 hours later as you and I talk about it, only to say that he’s made it through the first night and we hope he’s okay. But this was just an unprecedented and just incredible journalism from Suzy Kolber. And, and Scott Van Pelt and just all the way through what I witnessed until I went to bed and couldn’t take it anymore. But welcome in how are you my friend?

Luke Jones  02:41

I’m doing well. And another name I want to mention Ryan Clark, former Pittsburgh Steeler who does lots of work for ESPN very heartfelt comments. I think my biggest takeaway with this Nestor is football is very important to a lot of people. I mean, it’s it’s a major part of our livelihood, right? You know, we want it to be important to people otherwise there. There isn’t the NFL and there isn’t so many different businesses and endeavors that are attached to that. But in a moment like this, you’re just reminded that something that can be so important, suddenly isn’t important at all anymore. And I think with Damar Hamlin takes a hit collision with T Higgins of the Bengals, a hit we see dozens of times every NFL Sunday, a hit that was a hard hit. But not something that makes you take pause in isolation. And then you see him get up and just collapse. And I mean, it was terrifying. And to see something like that you just mentioned, it’s a very violent game. And we see injuries in all sports, right. And we’ve even seen very serious injuries and all sports, you know, even individuals. You mentioned Mike Godley, I think of Dennis Byrd at the New York Jets who passed away not terribly long ago, but

Nestor Aparicio  03:55

hey, man, I was on the air the night that Dale Earnhardt went into the wall. I was on national radio that night, not knowing a hand support device. I mean, you know, I didn’t even know the terminology in the lingo of it. And that’s possible every time they put those those wheels on the track every year, right. I mean, it’s just there. It’s a reality other than Hank gathers and other crazy, you know, things with baseball and baseball’s conigliaro, and those kinds of things that we talk about 50 years ago, but just the word, just the name. And Monday night certainly stops everything that I’ve ever seen in regard to the sport and in regard to some sort of thought that they were gonna play football again. Because if it was just a broken leg, they would just pick up the pieces and go back and play right. Like we’ve seen that 1000 times, right.

Luke Jones  04:50

Yeah, well, and we’ve seen players taken away on stretchers. We’ve seen players suffer serious neck injuries. We’ve seen players who didn’t have movement of that movement of their extra remedies whether that movement was eventually restored or quickly restored or not. We’ve seen that and I think for anyone who’s played in the NFL, anyone who played football at any level I, I played youth football starting at age nine. And even as a as a child, I don’t think you’re thinking about, you know, you’re certainly not thinking about death, or that kind of a series notion

Nestor Aparicio  05:20

I’ve ever had a stinger, did you ever go down and not feel things for a second or two, I mean,

Luke Jones  05:25

nothing, nothing of that nature. But there was always an acknowledgment of, hey, keep your head up. And there can be a risk of a neck injury or a head injury, things of that nature. And I think Ryan Clark talked about this on air. I’ve seen some other players, you know, who played in the league talk about it. You take an acknowledgement of that. And we’ve talked about it with CTE and concussions and things of that nature. But so many of those situations, as horrible as they as they may be, there’s never really a thought of a fatality being a possibility, thought of CPR being involved, as we saw with Tamara Hamlin, and that’s what’s just so utterly terrifying about the situation. And you know, the only thing that for me that really, you mentioned, Dale Earnhardt and clearly, that’s a great, but also awful example. As far as someone who was so hope, high profile, beloved, in NASCAR, all of that, but

Nestor Aparicio  06:21

we had the wrestling incident too. And I thought about that, yeah, literally when this happened, and they went to break, and they were going to a break in a break. My wife had fallen asleep. And I literally got up and I went to the bathroom just to get away from the televisions. I was like, wow. And I needed a minute, I didn’t want to wake her up. And the first thing I thought about was your wrestling. And it’s always on our wn St. Twitter timeline to the wrestling stuff. And I thought about the incident with Owen Hart and how like, everybody went home, like and I thought to myself, in the in that three or four minutes of that elongated first commercial break when you’re like, Oh, this isn’t normal. And I’m checking Twitter, you know, and I have friends in the press box in Cincinnati that I follow. And I thought of the wrestling. I mean, I thought of that being that and Dale Earnhardt. I thought of incidents where when this happens, do they stop the event that he does everybody go home? What do they do? But but that was it. 859 not at you know, not an hour later as what unfolded on the field and what unfolded with the coaches and the little cell phone and the amp? I mean, all of that that happened that hour afterward? Where everyone in the stadium everyone in America everyone everywhere. I don’t own heart wasn’t like that, because it was a wrestling match. Maybe you in your world you remember it that night because you’re watching the match. But like this was the biggest game of the I mean, it’s like something out of a horror movie for all of them for everyone.

Luke Jones  07:53

It wasn’t I mean, WWF continued the event, if you recall, they did not end the show. I mean to much criticism.

Nestor Aparicio  08:02

My lead. They did it later is that they’ve sent everybody home. They did no they did

Luke Jones  08:06

not. They did not. No. I mean, that’s, you know, for all of Vince McMahon’s transgressions. That’s, I mean, at the top of the list, quite frankly. But no, I, I think for me, I thought of Owen Hart, eventually. And I mean, just for anyone who’s not familiar with that story, of course, I was 1999. He was at the top of you know, I was believe it was in Kansas City, I want to say it was and he was the blue blazer. Now that was his gimmick at the time. And that was a harness. He was actually propelling down from the ceiling of the arena to the ring, and the harness broke. And we’ve

Nestor Aparicio  08:43

seen mascots do this in the NFL. Yeah, swinging in and doing things like that. Yes, yeah.

Luke Jones  08:49

But I think for me, and this is gonna be funny to hear this from me because, you know, I’m not a SOCCER GUY. I came across this strictly by accident, the summer of 2021, Christian Eriksen of Denmark. It was the Euros, you know, the 2020 euros that had been made up the following year, because of the pandemic and he had a cardiac arrest incident where he was resuscitated, you know, from my understanding. I mean, it was something that I just came across channel surfing and I saw up on my

Nestor Aparicio  09:17

timeline, yeah, the first five minutes someone said, This is not unprecedented. And I remember the

Luke Jones  09:23

right Right, right. So and that was a case for Christian Erickson was was brought back and was, you know, was gone. So to speak for a few minutes and think, thank goodness that thank the Lord that he made a recovery. He’s actually back playing, you know, over a year later, so you hope for the best for tomorrow. Hanlon, but I thought of that. And I think again, it just comes back to one thing I want to say, you know, as much as talk about the NFL and whether there was you know, who said they were going to continue to play. The truth will will be set free because players will eventually react to that. You know what What was this set on the field as far as whether there truly was five minute warm up? You know, the coaches intervening, the intervening, we saw what the end result was right? The game was postponed, when will it be played? Made up? If it will be made up? Who knows? I mean, we’ll find out when to

Nestor Aparicio  10:14

the Ravens play on Sunday to like, right. And it’ll get sorted out by the time people hear this. And they’ll be like, okay, but we’re reacting to in real time. And I don’t know that there can be any immediate now, nor there should be any announcement. This is an unprecedented in our culture here. Yeah.

Luke Jones  10:33

I mean, as you mentioned, you talked to Chris Pike, I mean, what was it 1971, when there had been a death of an NFL player in the midst of a game, you know, as something of this nature happening. But look, the games will matter, again, at some point, probably some point very soon. But in the moment on Monday night, reacting to it the following morning, you know, and over the next couple of days, at the very least. And that’s, that’s the best case scenario occurs here that tomorrow, Hamlin is doing better and, and recovers and is ultimately okay, you know, as a human being. But, you know, it’s just, it’s incredibly, it’s very sobering. And I think it’s a reminder for anyone who loves the NFL, but life in general, it’s very precious. And we all know whether we’re talking about something as potentially extreme as playing in the NFL, and understanding the health risks that these players sign up for, and have always known to some point. But you know, to that extreme, where you’re talking about a life or death situation, you know, that’s not something that you think about. But we also know that there are athletic trainers all across the country, and things of this nature, do happen, even in youth sports, and you know, there are medical emergencies, and as much as we might say, you know, how does the NFL at the very top, you know, whether you’re talking about Goodell or team officials, officials, whatever, how they react to something or how what their protocol is, is one thing, but fortunately, for tomorrow, Hamlin, there were lots of great medical people on the field, are ready to treat and any head athletic trainer and I saw various individuals reacting on social media on Monday night, you know, they’d love you know, the best, the best case scenario for them for a game is they might take a few ankles, and they’re handing out water to people, but they also are prepared and are trained to treat and CPR and things of that nature. Heaven forbid that something like this happens. And, you know, from that standpoint, it’s just, again, a reminder of how precious life can be and, you know, we’ll find out I assume, in the coming days, as far as what exactly happened, you know, was it a freak accident and as far as when you hear about trauma to the chest and to the heart, you know, when it is in a certain, you know, rhythm of a heartbeat, you know, I’ve seen different things that can

Nestor Aparicio  12:53

you will go back to injuries and things like Zach or write these things, and heart murmurs that a player says can’t play anymore, dodgers won’t let me play anymore, or, or what happened was Tamari roll. Right? I mean, I’m thinking of players who’ve had these issues, let alone the quarry IVs I mean, I just in my years here, I remember having John Ogden booked out at the barn in 1999 Stoney case era, right. And it was literally I believe it was the same night it was in Atlanta at the Georgia Dome. I believe it was the same game, that Stoney case through the game winning past the Justin armour. If I’m not mistaken. We’re going back 2324 years here. But John Ogden was supposed to be my guest and you get carted off we talk about a Hall of Famer here, right. Like Ray Lewis was medivac out of Western Maryland College. I wasn’t there that day. I was broadcasting from Nate’s and Leon’s before an Orioles game, because it was 1997 98 the Orioles were Davey Johnson and like all of that, and you remember this from your childhood, but I mean, this is real time. No internet radio reporting. Ray Lewis is getting medivac out of I mean, these incidents have happened in in our own backyard, which I do all the famers. I can promise you that happen. And this was a practice in the middle of the day and how are they and what happened and this can happen anywhere. Korey Stringer, I remember I was in New York that day doing a hard knocks event for for HBO with the ravens to win the first ever Hard Knocks Korey Stringer goes down Brian Billick obviously very close record. Like these incidents in the league. We know. Every report on he has it’s a violent game, right? We start with it’s a violent game. violence happens carts happen ambulance has happened. Brian cheesier has happened. Darrell Stingley I was watching the Darrell Stingley game when I was a boy before you were born. I remember watching there Darrell Stingley game live wouldn’t happen. So I watched the league game I remember all These incidents, and I just thought my initial reaction was the NFL has done a bomb shelter drill on this right? I mean, literally right? Like they have to the commissioner has to play out what if someone dies during the game? What if there is a shooting in the upper deck? What if there is a bomb that goes off six blocks away? Because some whatever, they have to have a plan for everything I thought I get because I go to these owners meetings, even though I’ve been thrown out now. And this is why you want journalists at owners meetings and you want questions being asked by real journalists with a journalist are the ones picking up the pieces to report whether Mr. Hanlon is alive the next we’re the first thing you do is go out to look for journalists to report truth. And you know, through all of this with the NFL, I, their billion dollar industry, I watch their Super Bowls. Every year, I see the large s of all the guys with the earpieces and the suits and the security and the dogs. And you deal with that. And I deal with that every year, the Superbowl, I just thought like, they just would have page read page in the back of their little book and say, stop it, you know, the commissioners in on this immediately. And we’re gonna make quick decisions. Not that one hour wasn’t a quick decision through that was a long hour, as a long hour for National Football League for everyone. For everyone. It was a long hour. And I just, I hope the NFL gets a playbook on this. And obviously, we all knew this was possible. You know, I don’t want to be, too, too journalistically. But we all knew this as possible. And I just thought they that everybody would be a little more been on ESPN look more buttoned up and ready to to do their job report on this with some sobriety and some clarity, as it was going on much more so than it felt like it felt a little disjointed to me. It really did.

Luke Jones  16:58

Yeah, I mean, I. But I don’t help How soon is soon enough? How quick is quick enough? Right? I mean, and that’s why the right thing. Right, right. And that’s why I continue to go back to the medical personnel, the coaches on the field and the Shawn McDermott and Zach Taylor with everything we saw. And we’ve heard in the in the immediate hours, you know, the leadership that they showed for their teams

Nestor Aparicio  17:25

look like Zack Taylor came over to support. We’re not playing football, right. To me, like this was Zach Taylor, saying, no, no, no, no, no, no, we’re not. We can’t do this right now. That’s it felt like for me.

Luke Jones  17:38

Yeah. And for me, for me, it’s much more about just seeing the compassion that was shown seeing Zach Taylor go over to the bills locker room, seeing Joe burrow, go over to the bill’s locker room. Seeing that kind of, you know, it’s a brotherhood. It’s a it’s a Brethren among players. I mean, how many times have we heard different ravens players, whether they’re talking to him at live shows over the years talking to them in the locker room? You know, that it’s, Hey, I mean, the Ravens just played the Steelers, right? And, you know, Ryan Clark made mention the collision with Bill Willis McGahee at the end of the 2008 AFC Championship game, and you think back to big hits and things of that nature. But at the end of the day, these are these young men, you know, and even the coaches, anyone involved, the end of the day, their sons, their fathers, their husbands, their friends, the brothers, much more so than their football players, or coaches. I mean, we were just talking 24 hours ago talking about Greg Roman and the struggles of the ravens and, you know, different things as far as job security and accountability. And, you know, this player not doing this or this coach not doing this. And look, we’ll resume those conversations at some point. And the game doesn’t feel very important right now. It’ll be important again, at the right point, but it’s just a reminder of it is truly just a game. And it’s important to a lot of people, and that’s okay. But in a moment, like what happened on Monday night, it’s a reminder that at the end of the day, it’s not all that terribly.

Nestor Aparicio  19:05

Oh, it’s unbelievable. 70,000 people were paying $300 to get in, there’s bar and pack people gambled on the gay leg and eaten. I mean, all of this, but none of it matters. None of it matters. Five minutes, literally when the ambulance showed up, none of that mattered anymore. And that next hour, you know, that nine o’clock hour eastern time became just something I hope we never see again. I mean, I you know, I like I and I always knew it was possible. And I always wondered what happens and now we sort of know what happens that at least if you know the right thing was done and everything was stopped to your point i i got the WWE story wrong. 25 years later, like I conflated it that they did the wrong thing with all these years later saying, Well, they didn’t didn’t really keep wrestling did they? And they did and, and they could have kept playing football on Monday night because the show goes on right Like, I’m glad they didn’t. But there was some thought like they’re gonna play there was a little thought of that.

Luke Jones  20:07

Well, it’s because of what we just said, even in even situations where a player is carted off, you know, he’s put on a backboard, he’s put on a neck collar, you know, where there’s fear of spinal cord injury. There’s, you wait for that thumbs up, right? You know, we’ve seen players suffer horrific compound fractures of a leg. And there’s some kind of you see that they’re alert, you see that they’re awake, that they’re conscious and breathing, and that you know that their mortality is not in question. Right. So that’s where this just changes. And you just said it. I mean, we have the expression, the show must go on, right? Whether we’re talking about football or any form of entertainment. I mean, I’ll give you another one that I thought I thought of the late umpire John McSherry, you know, literally pitches into the first game of the 1996 season in Cincinnati, suffered a massive heart attack and died on the field. I mean, not that that was related to the sport or anything that happened in the game itself. But it’s just a reminder of, you know, we think of sports as a diversion, right? We think of sports as our escape from so many different things that are challenging in our lives, whether we’re talking about personally, politically, spiritually, things that really matter. Yeah. And but we were reminded when something like this happens on Monday night, again, a hit that the collision itself, you see dozens of times every NFL Sunday, and we don’t think much of it, and then that there’s nothing guaranteed in that way, and that there can something can go wrong. And you know, whether it’s a player having a heart condition, or whether it’s just, you know, a one in a million kind of hit and timing, then think matters of the heart it you know, I mean, it’s, it can be it’s very precious, it’s very fragile. And that’s not for any of us to be completely terrified, going about our everyday lives. But it is a reminder of life is not a it’s not a guarantee, right? And that’s why we cherish the people in our lives that are important to us. And we enjoy getting together to watch football, right? Or Why watch baseball or watch college basketball or whatever it might be. So, again, you know, as we’re, you and I were preparing to reconvene Tuesday morning and talk about, you know, whether the bills won or whether the Bengals won, whether the Ravens going to be playing the Bengals at one or 425

Nestor Aparicio  22:26

When John Harbaugh was upset that Gus Edwards didn’t get the ball.

Luke Jones  22:29

Yeah, yeah. I mean, you think about all those different things. And again, we’ll, we’ll talk about those things again, sooner rather than later, most likely, but it’s just it’s very much a reminder of how life is precious, and also, how fortunate we are to be able to talk about such things under normal conditions and to think about those types of things rather than talking about the

Nestor Aparicio  22:53

game too, was that the game? Like I said to my wife at three in the afternoon, I’m like, I’m looking forward to this game. And I’m like, yeah, like, I haven’t stopped everything. I even like center, we should put like a spread out for this one. You know, this is gonna go 15 rounds, you know, like, and I felt that way, all along. And and for the game to stop in the biggest game of the year, it really, first day of the year, literally, we all should take pause here as we enter 2023 in regard to this,

Luke Jones  23:24

no question. And that’s where I’d take a moment and everything I saw in terms of what was happening in Cincinnati with the crowd. And I mean, Buffalo is not that far from Cincinnati, right? I’m sure there were a number of bills fans who made the trip. And everything I saw on social media was a fan, you know, 10s of 1000s of fans really reacting in a way that you would hope they would rather than the ugliness that we sometimes see with fandom and things of that nature where you saw, I saw accounts of Bengals fans, comforting bills, fans leaving the stadium and good interactions, and I think fans even gathered outside the hospital. And I believe there was a vigil at one point in the aftermath, late Monday night. And sure, there might have been a few knuckleheads here and there, but overall, it seemed like everyone understood the magnitude the gravity of the situation. And yeah, I mean, as you mentioned, it’s a big game. I’m sure that the secondary ticket market I’m sure people paid hundreds to watch this

Nestor Aparicio  24:26

a $300 gain and I’ve been going to Cincinnati every year. Never $300 there, right. I mean, I remember one Monday night during maybe the Todd heap era where the Marvin Lewis and the Carson or the Carson Palmer like where it was sold out, like literally, you know, might have been 80 bucks to get in but Cincinnati is on fire and you know, it was just such a big game and and the league has a lot of lifting here to do schedule wise, head wise. Playoff wise money wise television, like there’s a lot of people to answer to look Jones will be answering to, to no one but Luke Jones here all week long. He’ll be at a Baltimore low you can find him in Owings Mills. I’m sure the ravens are going to have some reaction to this and the Ravens head of the Cincinnati we think this weekend. So for us this was our conversation in the early Wednesday morning or excuse me Tuesday morning in the aftermath of of Monday night. We are going to be talking about all sorts of things around here this week. I’ve got lots and lots of guests. Tomic Mills is going to be joining us this week, my dear friend Jody Cutler talking about her deaf child and cochlear implants and a movie. That’s that’s coming out called rally caps. That’s a a Baltimore based movie with John Hirsh. So I have some some feel good stories here. But in the meantime, we’re all going to just sort of hold on, take deep breaths, see what happens with this situation and hope that the more Hamlet makes a full recovery and certainly hearts out to everybody in the community who was involved in, you know, loop before I even go to break. The first thing I thought was I saw I went to Pittsburgh, and I thought, oh my god, the kid, the quarterback of the Steelers knows, like, like, I bet a bunch of the Steelers know the kid because he was in the building like all of that. And I just thought how many connections there were and his mother and the ambulance and I just, yeah, how many games I’ve been to where these kinds of incidents have happened. And it all happens in real time. And, you know, I think the league did the right thing on Monday night. Certainly again, hats off to all the journalists involved. And people I know and like a whole lot like Adam Schefter and and Suzy Kolber and, and Scott Van Pelt and Ryan Clark is doing a great great job all right, Luke can be found at Baltimore, Luke, I can be found when they let me back on Twitter. I don’t know what they’re gonna do. You find me on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, wherever they allow real journalism. I’ll be there we are wn st am 1570, Towson Baltimore. And we never stop talking Baltimore positive

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