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On Tuesday, the NFL was hit with another lawsuit from former players who accused the league of providing painkillers and other drugs that would allow the players to remain in the game and avoid missing any time, but led to serious complications later in life.
More than 500 players joined the suit which accuses team doctors and trainers of providing the medication without a prescription or without any proper warning about the potential harm of side effects.
Former NFL linebacker Terry Crews, who had a brief career playing for the Los Angeles Rams, San Diego Chargers, Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles, recently spoke to SI Now, Sports Illustrated's daily live show, about what the NFL culture was like during his playing days and whether or not he would ever go against a doctor and refuse surgery or drugs.
Crews had some very candid remarks, even going as far as to say the NFL is a cult.
"There is this thing where the team kind of looks at [itself] as your father," Crews said. "And it's kind of weird, because it's like 'You'd do this for the team, right?'
"It's really like a cult. I'm going to say it. The NFL is a cult, because you've been looking at this motto and this logo for your whole life and you believe in it and you're like 'They wouldn't do anything to hurt me. They never would.' And, uh oh, maybe they would."
As Crews notes, when you spend your entire life working for a goal, you want to do everything in your power to keep that dream going. Because of that, you may be willing to just follow along with whatever people ask you to do if you believe it will extend your career.
Crews added, "When you give your life over to something like that and give your total trust into something like that, it will always disappoint you."
The 500 players involved in the lawsuit seem to be realizing that now, but it comes well after the fact.
At the very least, maybe these cautionary tales from former players will lead to the younger generation of football players thinking twice before becoming a follower of the shield, perhaps realizing that they are free to make their own choices.SI Now airs live weekdays at 1 p.m. ET. Find the shows archive here.