James Harrison was fined $20,000 today for this hit:
Really. $20,000 on a play that injured no one, and that was likely a case of James just not being able to stop himself as you can see he tried to strip the ball during the hit. It doesn’t make it right, but it’s a penalty that is common enough in football that they have a specific name for it.
Roughing the passer.
It’s not an anomaly for which we have no name or signal. It’s not a guy trying to stomp a quarterback’s head flat (EXCESSIVE STOMPAGE. FIFTEEN YARD PENALTY.) It’s not a guy trying to pants a quarterback (PANTSING. TEN YARD PENALTY. PANTSING RESULTING IN DISPLAYED GENITALIA. FIFTEEN YARD PENALTY, AUTOMATIC FIRST DOWN).
It was a late hit. It happens. A penalty was called and guess what, that penalty hurt us, as penalties are designed to do.
Now the NFL has gone further by fining for late hits and other things they normally took care of with penalty flags.
Where does it end now that it has begun?
How about a $10,000 fine for every time Casey Hampton’s giant butt falls on someone’s face?
How about a $5,000 fine for every time a player gets the wind knocked out of him?
A $20,000 fine for a particularly rough but legal block?
How about color-coded penalty flags that use the terror threat level chart to determine corresponding fine?
I realize football injuries are serious and I’m not trying to be flip, but this latest fine on James Harrison is the start of something big in the NFL, and I don’t know that I like what it will do to the sport.
Take hockey. Players and fans relish the fights. FIGHTS. Not crushing checks, but the punching and decking and eye-gouging and the momentum-shifting post-fight shushing.
Take that away and hockey would not be hockey.
There’s got to be a way to let football be football, without fining every infraction that could possibly injure a player because these guys did not go into football as a profession thinking about leotards or double axels or birdies or foot faults.
I just hope they figure it out before the game changes too much and we’re spending a Sunday watching James Harrison try his damnedest to rip a flag off of Drew Brees’ belt.