NFL did disservice to veterans with Super Bowl radio row setup

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – No one cares about the set up for hundreds of radio stations participating in car wash interviews of people connected to the NFL.

The Mall of America experience could have been anywhere. There was no local flavor, and banners that announced we were in the “Bold North” didn’t get the job done.

The NFL doesn’t care about it and maybe it shouldn’t.

But here’s something it should care about: The Wounded Warriors who were regulars on Radio Row struggled to navigate the tight quarters amid some very poor logistics.

On The Midday 180 we watched one serviceman, a double amputee, abandon his wheelchair and crawl on the floor in order to get where he needed to go.

IMG 6118I regret I was unable to seek him out to learn his name and discuss it. That was Wednesday and I got sick and was out of commission for the remainder of the workweek. On Thursday my colleague Jonathan Hutton ranted about it on the show. (I've not been able to find him or get a comment from the Warriors.)

Hall of Fame finalist Jerry Kramer, 82, needed someone to lean on as he worked his way around radio row. The spacing made that very difficult for the amazing storyteller who was selected to the Hall on Saturday.

We should have said something.

But it’s also not our job to monitor. It’s a league operation. It’s a Super Bowl operation. They are obligated to oversee how it is and isn’t working. They are obligated to foresee if it’s a functional operation for everyone, including people who use wheelchairs.

The NFL is a huge military supporter.

But that shameful display that should embarrass them, result in an apology and ensure that radio row is placed in large enough space at Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta and beyond.

The NFL will look into it.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy was upset to learn of what we saw, and said the league was not made aware.

“It’s unfortunate if this happened,” McCarthy said. “We have a great relationship with the Warriors’ project, we’ve worked with them for years. The commissioner had a member in his suite for the game,

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“I wish we were alerted to this, we would have worked it out. We simply didn’t hear complaints. Had any NFL staff been alerted, we would have immediately gone over and helped.”

All of us there failed those guys.

It’s an NFL deal though. They put radio row in Mall of America’s food court. They put the tables too close together in too tight a space. They allowed big guests to have too many handlers with them, flooding an already crowded space.

It's an issue that never should have arisen.

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