From the piece:
Lewis, meanwhile, was praised for his toughness. True, he is not a youngster, and doesn’t play the sport’s most important position. Nevertheless, the contrast was stark: Lewis was celebrated for his career spent colliding at top speed with other players, while Shanahan was ripped for letting his player take part.
Football is suffused with a “warrior mentality,” far more than other sports. The game is not for the meek, but players who play well through pain are granted heroism beyond that of the merely sublime. The players may enforce the code behind closed locker room doors, but it is a mindset that is in large part fostered by the media.