Monday, December 13, 2010

You Want Foul Play? FINE!

Although I may have just begun to follow the NFL on a consistent basis this season, it feels like more and more dangerous hits are being recognized on local television from teams outside of the city I live in. Not just that, these players giving these hits are receiving massive fines left and right for what can be considered a "blatant hit."
Are fines the answer to this? Do these athletes really mean to dish out these nasty-looking hits?

We'll find out the answer to this on today's episode of...The Sports Nut Court.

Today we're going to look into some cases in which certain players have been slammed and exactly why they are in such deep issues. Here at The Sports Nut Court, we try to get all of the facts and start to figure out why the foul play is bringing about the excessive fines and hassle. Let's bring out our defendant before Judge AnimaniacZero:

And here we are. Mr. James Harrison, 32 years of age, and throughout the past 14 weeks, he has garnered four pretty-looking fines under his belt. I won't lie, some of the hits he's dished out look pretty devastating. Here's the big issue though: as nice as the guy is and as much as he didn't mean the hits, he still hit the guys and also showed some unsportsmanlike conduct. In his defense, it's rather ridiculous how he's getting slammed in vicious amounts in a particular period of time.

In any case, he isn't the only guy that has been on this end of infamy. Many other players (and even members coaching staffs) have been accused of rough hits and disorderly conduct resulting in massive fines and massive hair/dread pulling. A couple of weeks ago, a sports analyst on Twitter (the name escapes me at the moment...why do I think it's Deion Sanders for some reason?) noted that money shouldn't be an answer to every hit and every instance of bad conduct. Although suspensions have become all too common in other sports, fines could be regulated in a much more honest fashion. Factors for fines that could be looked at are: status on the team--i.e. rookie, veteran, just a typical idiot that opposing fans absolutely hate--the salary of the player in question (which, in my opinion, is a really good idea), and the list of other offenses that have been committed in the past. I'll admit that a lot of the guys "up top" in the NFL are very trigger-happy and don't like to think things through when it comes to penalization.

Something that has to be taken into account with these hits is that not all of them are done on purpose. After seeing a dangerous hit on DeSean Jackson in October, players had said that the hit wasn't done on purpose although it was as ruthless as it looked on television and on the field. The guy was penalized of course, but what else could have been done? It's not like he followed through with more disorderly conduct and celebrated the hit that caused a concussion. It's like the saying that some people don't even know their own strength. That, and the hear of the competition can really blind the moment of actually hurting someone. Believe me, that does happen sometimes.
[Flashback: When I was in a soccer tournament at Fort Dix, New Jersey one year, I was running backwards and saw one of my teammates move a girl off of the ball. This girl on the other team literally flew and landed sideways on her knee. When she screamed, it was one of those "forced out screams" when you're in so much pain you can't even scream or react loud enough for the pain to lessen. I didn't exactly see what happened to her until she was on the stretcher, but we then saw that her kneecap was so far to the right on her knee that it looked like a contortionist's knee. At any rate, I know for a fact that my teammate didn't do that on purpose. It's not like she really wanted to knock the girl's kneecap out on purpose. That kind of stuff happens.]

Verdict: Here at the Sports Nut Court, we wish the best of all of the athletes in a high contact sport. But when it comes to freak accidents and stupid, honest mistakes, you can never really find an effective way to "punish" someone, for the lack of a better word to describe it. We can all be thankful that these athletes have the money to compensate for these happenings, but I'm not sure if we can prevent these freak accidents unless if the sport ended altogether. However, I doubt people would want to see that happen. It's like saying we can prevent freak car accidents during inclement weather by not going out and driving in that stuff. But people do it anyway. So--what can be done? Something that seems reasonable and smart. This mindless fining method needs to be fixed so the NFL doesn't look like the Catholic church according to those from the outside looking in.


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