Lem Barney released a statement Sunday, obtained by Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press, apologizing for his comments made at the Sound Mind Sound Body football camp in Michigan. Speaking as part of a panel of football coaches, Barney said that the sport would be gone in 10-20 years because it is "deadly." Barney, an NFL Hall of Fame cornerback with the Detroit Lions, stood by his words, but said that the camp setting may not have been appropriate.
The other day at the Sound Mind and Body Camp I was asked about my thoughts on football and safety. While I made comments I believe to be truthful it is apparent to me now that the camp was not the forum for those comments.
Barney did note that he'd made similar comments and he refused to back off the content itself.
These are the same comments I have made for years before Congress, under oath and at numerous events for retired players and it's become second nature. I don't want to discourage young men from their love of the game, I just want the game to be safe.
What I said were things I feel, things that happened to me, but obviously it was not the right time or place. I have the utmost respect for Coach [Brady] Hoke, [Mark] Dantonio, and all MHSAA, CYO, PAL and Pop Warner coaches and I apologize to any of the coaches whom I made uncomfortable at the event. I wish all those involved in our great sport a long, healthy and SAFE career.
At the camp, Barney said that he did not miss his NFL playing days, and estimated that he suffered more than a half-dozen concussions during his career. Barney also said that he discouraged his son and grandson from playing the sport due to the potential head trauma caused by football's violent collisions.