The National Football League (NFL) has been increasing the penalties for acts of violence on the field in hopes of decreasing injuries. League officials have released numerous statements, both written and on video, outlining their views on illegal hits, unsportsmanlike conduct, and unnecessary roughness. While posturing themselves as less tolerable and more concerned, the fines and penalties have increased; however, the extra-curricular activity has increased as well!
Fights and unsportsmanlike conduct
Earlier this month, Oakland Raiders defensive end, Richard Seymour slapped Steelers quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger after a touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders. Then Andre Johnson and Cortland Fennegan were involved in an on-field altercation that was about as childish as Mike Tyson biting Evander Holyfield’s ear.
Johnson and Fennegan were ejected from the game and fined $25,000 each by the NFL as was Seymour. All are repeat offenders. The trios behavior is difficult to explain to young fans, has been escalating over time, and completely unprofessional. I wonder what’s going to be next. Maybe the Gilbert Arenas approach to work-place-safety? Will the NFL need to install metal detectors near the tunnels because the players are bringing weapons to work? Maybe security should be examining the players’ bags and personal effects like they do the fans. Afterall, the fans are unarmed! They are already tossing their helmets into the stands at us.
Remarkably, none of these players were suspended or arrested for their actions. Maybe there should be criminal repercussions for unsportsmanlike conduct of this nature.
It is common knowledge that the National Football League is a sport celebrated for years because of the sheer impacts. Their was an exciting segment on one of the sports channels that applauded the defensive back plowing threw a helpless receiver suspended in mid-air trying to catch a high pass across the middle of the field. The catch phrase was “You got jacked up!” It was amazing to see the violent collisions. The receivers spinning around like a helicopter’s propeller. This was what fans wanted to see! Sure, every now and again, somebody would get hurt, but it was worth it if he got whacked. Not so anymore.
The NFL recently stopped selling those photographs on their website. They previously wanted to profit from the thrill. Now that the owners are spending millions of dollars on even the average player, they don’t seem to be as thrilled to see their star, six million-dollar-man flipping head over heels! It’s about the same as owning a Ferrari in Montana. You don’t take it out in the winter, do you? So. How does a player quickly adapt to the less violent NFL before going broke? I can only imagine the frustrations of trying to tackle a moving target that is naturally going to reposition and brace himself for impact and when doing so might very well cause an illegal hit and cost me half my pay for the day!
Bernard Pollard of the Houston Texans is a repeat offender according to the NFL.. On Dec. 3, the USA Today reported that the Texans’ safety was fined $40,000.00 for leading with the head and tackling Titans WR Justin Gage while he was defenseless. Earlier in the season, Pollard was fined $5,000.00 for a hit in the Kansas City game the League deemed to be unnecessarily rough.
Another repeat offender, Arizona Cardinals offensive tackle Jeremy Bridges was fined $20,000 for his hit on Takeo Spikes after the 49ers LB made an interception. It was his 5th incident since 2009. Almost sound like the cost of doing business, huh? I guess the Player’s Union will get a rebate program worked into future contracts.
Fellow Cardinal, Clark Haggans was also fined recently. The veteran OLB in his 11th season was fined $10,000 for unnecessary roughness in the 49ers game as well for a head shot.
From a long-time fan of the game, stop it. Many fans are tired of the immature behavior, especially when the majority of us would love to be in your cleats. To play in the NFL is a privilege and should not be taken lightly. My wife’s nephew, Timothy Colston, briefly played in the NFL for the Carolina Panthers (1996) and would say the same. He only played in 2 games and would give everything to be 23 again and playing in the League.
“NFL Executive VP Anderson talks player safety…”(2010); National Football League (NFL.com news)
“NFL fines Texans S Bernard Pollard $40,000.00…” (2010); USA Today
“Oakland Raiders defensive end Richard Seymour…” (2010); Associated Content
“Texans’ Pollard to pay $40k in latest NFL fines” (2010); Sporting News
“Tyson disqualified for biting Holyfield’s ear.”(1997); The New York Times
“1996 Carolina Panthers roster”; Pro-football reference.com