Inconsistent fines in NFL unlikely to change

Published by adviser, Author: Diana Caruso - Commentary, Date: August 28, 2014
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The beginning of a new school year, brings along a new season of an American classic, football. During the 2014 off season and preseason, 29 players have encountered punishments from on and off the field actions. Is the National Football League (NFL) too greedy when it comes to fines and suspensions? Is the organization consistent and fair?  Don’t get me wrong, the NFL like any other association out there has a set of rules that their employers are expected to follow…and when their expectations are not met, there is a price to pay.  

Thus far, the NFL is scraping up over $10 million from players across the league and has given out a total of 111 game suspensions. So let’s break it down… 20 of the 29 players who were punished for either substance abuse or performance-enhancing drugs were entered into an intervention program, fined established on the individual contract, and/or suspended based on the offense. Both violations were handled in a constant and fair manner. Therefore, substance abuse and PEDs were checked off the list as rational and consistent.  

Next up, is on field regulations. Depending on the first and second offenses, the NFL released a list of violations ranging from $8,268 for a face-mask fine to over $27,000 for fighting during the game. This shows some consistency for a select 24 infractions, now for the controversial part of the NFL’s punishment policy.

One of the things not on the list of violations, which is one of the most asinine fines in the league, is for celebrations. Saints’ tight end, Jimmy Graham was recently fined $30,000 for dunking over the field goal post, after a touchdown. Meanwhile, Johnny “Money” Manziel was fined a mere $12,000 for flipping the bird to the bench of the Washington Redskins.  Yeah, that’s an expensive bird if you ask me, but at the end of the day the goal-dunking celebration did absolutely no harm and ended up costing more. 

Others can get fines for spiking the ball or using taunting gestures towards the opposing team. However, the famous ‘Lambeau Leap’ has no consequence because it’s off the field of play. How is this considered fair while it is also done during the game? When it comes to celebrations, the fines are inconsistent and unneeded.  It’s another example of why the NFL is one of the greediest organizations around.

Based off my experience in high school Powderpuff, I participated in smack talk and touchdown celebrations. Just because money is involved, it does not change the initial reaction of the game. During the 60-minute game, the players are feeding off the energy and excitement of the crowd.   It’s hard to walk away from the end zone like they didn’t just embarrass the opposing team’s defense, and it does not give the NFL the right to fine the celebrating team.  Roger Goodell and his minions are turning this fun, hard- hitting sport into something I barely recognize anymore.

The players should not be paying the NFL for doing their jobs, while these men are STILL making the organization $9 billion a year. If you don’t think that’s greedy enough, Goodell stated earlier this year he wanted the NFL’s revenue to reach $25 billion by 2027. Although I understand this is a business, players like Ike Taylor took a pay cut to stay with his team. For him and many others, it’s not strictly about the money.  It’s a sport that close to 2,000 men have such a passion for, and the commissioner is taking away the joy of the game for not only the players, but the fans too.  

It’s no surprise that several players have described Goodell’s leadership as more of a dictatorship. Fans and players need to stick up for what they believe in through change of the organization. Whether we like it or not, politics and greed have taken over the game we once knew and loved. I’m afraid football fans will see the Browns win a Super Bowl before the NFL changes its ways.  

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