NFL players speak out on the NFL's awful, new dangerous hit rule
By Chris Chase
NFL players are speaking out against the new suspensions and fines for players making hard hits. A number of stars, both on offense and defense, have criticized the league in recent days, proving that not everyone is in favor of arbitrary rulings on hard hits, intent and effective tackling.
Roger Goodell and the NFL have good intentions with the new suspension and fine rules, but this slapdash tweak to the rulebook has already left players and fans confused. James Harrison(notes) getting fined $75,000 is understandable. Everyone except Harrison acknowledges that his hits were dirty. But what about Dunta Robinson(notes) getting fined $50,000 for a perfectly legal hit on DeSean Jackson(notes)? That was a great play with an unfortunate result. Yet his fine suggests the NFL is only serious about sanctioning players who cause injury, not ones who do so with vicious, reckless intent. If Jackson had popped up right after that hit, would Robinson still owe 50K today? I doubt it.
[Photos: DeSean Jackson reels from Robinson's powerful hit]
Decisions to fine and suspend can't be made because of a hit's end result. Goodell will insist that they're not doing that, but the Robinson fine proves otherwise. This is a slippery slope for the league to pursue.
[Related: James Harrison's 'I try to hurt people' admission]
The NFL didn't think this through. Goodell and the suits in the front office swiftly overreacted to a serious issue without thinking of the implications. It's as if they saw concussed players, said "this has to stop," and threatened every player who ever wanted to make a tackle. Players aren't pleased:
1. Brian Urlacher
"You know what we should do? We should just put flags on everybody. Let's make it the NFFL - the National Flag Football League. It's unbelievable."
"This is the game of football. This is a game of speed. This is a game of power. This is a game of physical guys going to battle. Once you start saying to guys 'You'll get suspended for a game,' that's when you're going to get a very, very tentative football game."
"There has been a warning sticker on the back of every helmet since pee wee league. When u put that helmet on you know you will hit or be hit. We still choose to play. Parents are asked to sign forms for their kids to play because of the dangers of the sport. Nothing is different."