Like any professional, athletes are expected to get the job done no matter what. At the very least, they should be trying their best and sometimes that means playing through pain.
Normal people wouldn't be able to pay the rent or feed their families if they stopped working. NFL practice squad players made a minimum of $129,200 in 2018. If they or any other professional athlete can't find a way through pain, they should be embarrassed. Toughness is important and athletes need to play through pain when the team and fans have invested so much money in them.
If the Andrew Lucks situation taught anyone anything, it's that you have to save your body before it's too late. Yes, sports gives a lot of these athletes huge bank accounts, but they need to be alive in order to enjoy it. There's nothing tough about sacrificing your brain and body for the sake of other people's entertainment.
Look at what happened to Kevin Durant. He decided to play injured against the Toronto Raptors in the NBA Finals and he ruptured his Achilles tendon. He might have gotten paid, but it may have cost him a prime year of his career.
Playing hurt is not an indication of toughness. It's an indication of short-sightedness and athletes need to stop doing it.
Check out our new podcast, "Warming the Bench with Dan Tran," where The Tylt's sports editor talks to two former NFL players about their experiences playing through pain and whether the glory is worth the risk.