Fox News Host Dagen McDowell Dismisses Tua Tagovailoa’s First Head Injury as ‘Lunacy’

Jesse Watters, co-host of the Fox News roundtable show The Five, lambasted a colleague who criticized the outpouring of concern for Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, after the NFL player suffered two brutal injuries in just four days. The 24-year-old was pummeled during Thursday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals, after hitting his head on the ground and struggling to stand upright on Sunday while playing the Buffalo Bills.

Fox News’ Dagen McDowell chalked up calls for firings and investigations into why Tagovailoa was allowed to play again so soon as “uninformed hysteria” online, with “lunatics going off in the blue check-mark world.” But Watters pushed back on her assertions.

“The shot where he stumbles and can’t walk—that is demonstrating a clear gross motor instability,” Watters said of Tagovailoa’s concerning movements last Sunday. The NFL players’ association was already looking into that incident, which left the third-year quarterback with back and ankle issues, according to the team’s pre-game injury report Thursday.

“That is a pretty tight turnaround. You’re going Sunday to Thursday,” Watters noted. “You already know you can have another concussion easier if you’ve just sustained one a couple of days before. He is at risk.”

“They are talking about a criminal investigation. There are people that should be fired within the organization—the team medical unit. I don't know how the guy’s agent didn’t say, ‘Hey, you know what? We’re not going to play him this week.’ You are risking a huge, huge asset right there. It’s not like it’s the playoffs. It’s a shame what happened.”

Concussion expert Dr. Chris Nowinski was one of a chorus of voices demanding consequences for those involved. A CTE specialist, Nowinski reupped a tweet he posted before Thursday’s kickoff that said, “If [Tagovailoa] has a 2nd concussion that destroys his season or career, everyone involved will be sued & should lose their jobs, coaches included.”

Yet after Watters had said his piece, McDowell declared she was of the “complete opposite opinion.”

“This is Twitter hysteria. It is uninformed hysteria and lunatics going off in the blue check-mark world,” she argued.

“It’s not anything about Twitter,” Watters shot back. “Everybody in the NFL, everyone on ESPN, former players and agents are saying this was horrible.”

Dagen then mocked the idea of a cover-up of the true nature of Tagovailoa’s injury on Sunday.

“You have to believe that on Sunday, Tua lied, the team lied, the league lied,” she said. “You have to believe that there’s a conspiracy… including the independent concussion protocol doctor who lied about the reason that he was wobbly on Sunday and allowed him back in the game.”

Watters disagreed, saying later in the argument that a “reckless medical staff” put the quarterback at risk. Watters also claimed that players “will say whatever they will to get back on the field, and you have to understand that.”

“They absolutely won’t,” McDowell insisted. “If it’s week three of an incredible season, he will not risk his entire career, and neither will the team.”

“I am not excusing what the NFL has done in the past with a $1 billion concussion settlement,” she continued. (The league has also come under fire for “race-norming” cognitive scores, which reportedly lowered the amount of payouts to Black former players.) “But this is uninformed hysteria by ESPN.”

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