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"Penalties" Archive


Should The NFL Shun Guys Like Terrell Pryor Who Leave the NCAA Due to Violations?

Terrell Pryor is anxiously awaiting word on whether he will be eligible for the NFL's supplemental draft

As Terrell Pryor continues to try to make his case for being eligible for Wednesday’s “Supplemental Draft,” ESPN’s Adam Schefter speculates about why the NFL might be putting Pryor through the paces:

But other sources around the league believe that, after all the controversy regarding players who violated the NCAA regulations last year and the pressure Nick Saban and others put on the NFL, the league now is trying to close the door for players who come into the NFL because they violated NCAA regulations. If true, then Pryor would suffer for some of the prior actions of others.

But some believe it is difficult for the NFL to assess the nature of NCAA violations and if it wants to do that, it needs to announce a new policy and apply it prospectively. But then again, it would give NFL commissioner Roger Goodell the type of power he has with the conduct policy, with the final call on his desk, applying his standard of right and wrong.

So the question bears asking…should players who leave NCAA football due to penalties be allowed to enter the NFL?

I say “yes” for a few reasons.

The main reason I say these players should be allowed in is because there’s no way the NFL would apply standards fairly when it comes to NCAA rulings. For example,  players who are penalized by the  NCAA AFTER entering the NFL do not face punishment by the NFL. Unfortunately, the NFL is considering changing that fact. But until they do, punishing only the players who received more “timely” punishment by the NCAA is unfair.

Secondly, the  NCAA isn’t consistent with its own investigations and punishments. By all accounts, NCAA violations, including the ones Pryor was suspended for, are not uncommon. They are, however, spottily investigated. Basing NFL policy on the decisions of an unreliable governing body is heading down the wrong path. It’s not to say that the NCAA should be expected to find every violator, but the instances in which they “discover” violations their record of penalties is inconsistent.

Even more, the  NFL isn’t prone to preventing athletes who have prior arrests-even for violent acts-out of the draft. If the goal is to promote character, this brings us to a debate about who’s character is better? Someone who beat his girlfriend in college or the guy who sold his own jerseys? The NFL shouldn’t head down that road.

Beyond that, there are many cases in which a player would have entered the draft even if not suspended. Not sure if the NFL is more worried about leaving DUE to a suspension or the fact that the player was ever suspended. I can’t imagine the NFL would ever shun a talent like Dez Bryant from entering the draft just because his college career was cut short by suspension regardless of the circumstances.

If Pryor’s eligibility rests upon his NCAA violations, the NFL should not issue a rejection before a policy making all suspended players ineligible is in place. I’ll be interested in the final ruling. The clock is ticking.


A Retrospective on Why NFL Players Named “Harrison” Ain’t Nothin’ to F-ck With (Allegedly)

Consider the fact that someone let this man have not one gun, but two!

This week the NFL world was overtaken by talk about Pittsburgh Steelers Linebacker James Harrison. In this upcoming Men’s Journal article, Harrison gives his unfiltered thoughts on everyone from his teammates Running Back Rashard Mendenhall (fumble machine) and Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (no Peyton Manning) to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (crook, devil, stupid).

I’ve said a million times that James is one of my favorite players and people. And even if he wasn’t, I’d still say he was. Why? Because he frightens me! And let me tell you, I don’t scare easily. From the time I was little, my dad has told me not to be afraid of anyone. And that attitude remained with me right up until James Harrison knocked Kyle Orton, Josh Cribbs, and Mohammed Massaquoi into the middle of the following week all in one season.

Since then it’s been clear that like the Wu Tang Clan, players named Harrision ain’t nothing to fuck with. Something about the name Harrison when connected to football breeds a tolerance for bullshit that is very low. Low Low. Scrub the grouuuuund low. King of Diamonds stripper ass low. Gas tank on E low. Souped up Chevy on hydraulics low. Shawty Lo.

What was I talking about?

Oh yeah. Scary Harrisons…scARRISONS…

If I wasn’t afraid, I’ll tell you all about James Harrison’s allegedly volatile relationship with his wife or about the time he body slammed a fan who ran onto the field.



But since I don’t want no parts of that conversation, I’ll simply move on to Marvin Harrison.

Yes Marvin Harrison, former Indianapolis Colts Wide Receiver and ALLEGED close friend of the streets.

Marvin Harrison Serves Up A Side Eye So Mean the Grim Reaper Would Drop His Scythe!

Marvin was a great wide receiver and actually might hold more NFL records than any other receiver in history. He garnered respect for his ability to elude defenders. These skills probably came in handy when he had to do the same thing to the police ALLEGEDLY. Off the field, Marvin was under investigation by both Philadelphia police and the FBI as they tried to determine if he was connected to the shooting death of a man he’d previously had an altercation with. This is all alleged!!

While I’m positive that Marvin is and was COMPLETELY innocent, since the 8 time Pro Bowler’s last name IS Harrison I can’t help but allegedly wonder!

I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention Rodney Harrison.

Rodney Harrison Tries to Make a Point to Tony Dungy Without Leaving His Seat


Admittedly Rodney only scares me half as much as Marvin and James but still enough that I wouldn’t mess with him to his face. The former New England Patriots Safety is known for admitting to federal agents that he received human growth hormones (ALLEGEDLY), being voted “dirtiest player” in the league by his peers, and hitting the $200,000 mark in fines by the NFL including a vicious helmet to helmet hit on the great Wide Receiver Jerry Rice that got him suspended.

THOUGH HE’S VERY HANDSOME AND WELL SPOKEN (just in case he’s reading this), Rodney gives me all kinds of crazy vibes especially when his broadcast partner former Colts Coach Tony Dungy makes one of his many goody two-shoes comments. Such comments usually prompt Rodney to visibly consider whether he should waste perfectly good breath making a counterpoint or handle the situation like a real Harrison would.

Side note: Judging by the number of times Rodney’s eyes have twitched and he’s flashed his “I-ain’t-no-killer-but-don’t-push-me” grin listening to Dungy talk, we are approximately 1.5 NFL seasons from Rodney putting Dungy in a Boston Crab or a rear naked chokehold depending on which suit he’s wearing that night. This is of course assuming he hasn’t already-ALLEGEDLY.

No surprise that the Hazardous Harrisons James and Rodney aren’t fans of each others. James says that Rodney is a jerk. Rodney’s response? Jerk is one of the nicer things anyone has ever said about him, and that James needs to just shut up.

James is right.

Rodney is right.

But take heart, we still have Nolan Harrison. Nolan is a senior executive for the NFL Players Association and formerly played defensive lineman for the Raiders and Steelers. He seems like a very nice guy. He actually took some time and explained to me what the NFLPA was doing with a couple of its player-driven sites.

What a sweet smile! His last name can't possibly be Harrison.

But…after that conversation, I took a peek at his bio and it says “you know whose side I’m on, tread lightly…” OMG IS THAT AN ALLEGED THREAT? Or have other Harrisons made me so nervous I don’t know the difference between helpful information and a potential ass kicking? this the same Nolan Harrison?

From this day forward,  any time someone is testing my gangsta, the name “Harrison” will serve as a warning. Either we can handle this politely, or I can get real Harrison on that ass!!!



Steelers James Harrison Says NFL’s Hit Rules are Unclear Even To Referees

A smiling Pittsburgh Steelers Linebacker James Harrison

When a player sets up a blog SPECIFICALLY to air out thoughts on ONE issue you know they are FRUSTRATED. Last time this happened, Steelers Running Back Rashard Mendenhall set up a blog clarify his comments on 9/11. Well Mendenhall’s teammate James Harrison has followed suit. Harrison was very clear about his dissatisfaction with the NFL’s hit rules and their strategy of enforcement during the season, and he has not cooled off.

Harrison writes:

Now you have to wait until a guy catches, or even worse, you have to let them catch the ball before you can even attempt to tackle him.  Along with that, you cannot let any part of your helmet or facemask touch any part of them basically from the chest up. If you are following the letter of the rules exactly, now most tackles, if not ALL tackles can be flagged, fined and/or result in ejection from that game, or future game(s).

I understand the intent behind making the rules, but in their attempt to make the game safer, they are actually clouding what is allowable.  Even the referees are confused.  A close look will show you that the referees were calling things that were not even supposed to be called, and NOT calling things that were actually illegal.

Quickly, the background on this blog post is that Harrison called the NFL leadership “idiots” and said the Steelers were being targeted which caused a backlash in the media (as usual). This prompted Harrison to try to do a little damage control. Don’t think this blog post does much in that arena, but this is James Harrison, I don’t expect him to back completely down from what he said.

ESPECIALLY since he seems to say in his post that he has lost respect for Roger Goodell and other NFL leadership such as Ray Anderson, VP of Football Operations, and Merton Hanks the former safety who now has a role in operations that I don’t quite understand to be honest.

Back in January, I wrote about how the NFL was quietly reducing fines that had been doled out for hits. Harrison, himself, had a fine reduced from $75K to 50K. I said then that these sorts of reductions prove the NFL is unsure of it’s own rules. Add that to the fact that is no independent arbiter and you have somewhat of a mess.

Harrison says in his blog post that he thinks there is more to the rules than player safety-I agree, and I would say that “more” is the need for the NFL to appear to care about players. With former players dropping dead left and right and the amount of bodies strewn about at the end of the season, the NFL is lucky to have avoided a full-on PR crisis.

That being said, as I argued before, I think that players like Harrison are better off touting that they will do their best to understand and follow the rules, and when they are called for a hit they believe is unjust, calmly explain why, have their agent appeal and move on with life. “If” the NFL is just keeping the rules for appearances, it might behoove guys like Harrison to play along with the act. After all, the NFL’s image includes the players as much as they may feel disconnected from its leadership.

Just a note, the Steelers were not the primary recipient of NFL hit fines last season, and when I find the breakdown (again) I’ll update this post.

Never thought I’d say this but Warren Sapp summed it up best.

“We took care of each other,” said Sapp, “and that’s what this is all about — taking care of the game, taking care of each other. And if James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley don’t see this, then maybe they need to leave the game. Because the game’s gonna be here a long time after you, and it’s been here a long time before you. So either get on the train or get off.”

Finally, very brief synopsis of the rules approved last week. The rules don’t seem so unclear; however, I will say this. I’d like to hear a player articulate how these rules feel in motion. I do understand momentum arguments but they could be explained better, especially in the context of looking for a legit tackle RATHER than a hit.




NFL Quietly Reducing or Reversing Many Illegal Hit Fines

The NFLPA has been appealing all the fines that have been levied against players for hits. And, quietly, the NFL has been steadily reversing or reducing many of the penalties. To me, this could be one of the biggest stories of the season and a sign that the NFL isn’t quite as confident in its new tact on hit rules as previous assumed.

The NFL has reduced the fines for Atlanta’s Dunta Robinson and New England’s Brandon Meriweather, both cited for flagrant hits against defenseless receivers.

Robinson’s fine was reduced by the league’s appeals officer, Ted Cottrell, from $50,000 to $25,000. Meriweather’s went from $50,000 to $40,000.

Robinson’s hit on Philadelphia wide receiver DeSean Jackson left both with concussions, and Meriweather picked up a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness after hitting Baltimore tight end Todd Heap in the head.

The Steelers have been, by far, are the team with the most issues with the rule and they continue to plead their case to the public as well as NFLPA leader DeMaurice Smith.

It appears the work by Smith and the union earned linebacker James Harrison some measure of satisfaction, although not as much as he would have liked. Thursday, the NFL announced that it had reduced his $75,000 fine, the largest in the league, to $50,000 for his hit Oct. 17 on Cleveland wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi.

It brings Harrison’s total in four fines this season down to $100,000, and Bill Parise, his agent, has an appeal scheduled Tuesday to reduce the $25,000 fine the NFL levied for a hit Nov. 28 on Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

The reversals are also important because the NFL does not have independent arbitrators to decide such matters such as is the case with the NBA and MLB. You have to think that at some point the NFL will want to strike the right note here.

As for Smith, he points out that he represents both “the guy who delivered the hit and the guy who received it.” But given the fact that many of these hits have been on defenseless receivers I have to wonder how much fighting the amount of EVERY fine levied is fair. Robinson’s hit on Jackson seemed 50K worth to me, reducing it to 25K further proves the need for the arbitrator and clear rules-not the need for lesser fines.


The Redskins Suspend Albert Haynesworth Without Pay, I Call EPIC Bullshit

The Redskins are a shambles of a team if I’ve ever seen one. This makes me feel bad about all my years of crying about Falcons’ losing seasons and the Eagles coming so close yet not close enough year after year…all along I should have just been glad that I’m not a Redskins fan.

Today, the Redskins announced that they were suspending Albert Haynesworth without pay for conduct detrimental to the team. This is total bullshit, but I must say it’s well played especially as it will go over with the casual fan. The Redskins have perfectly played played up the narrative that coaches/owners who misbehave are justified and players who do are petulant.

Timeline: Shanahan and Haynesworth fall out during offseason and again during pre-season (over illness and playing time-deja vu anyone?) thereby establishing that Haynesworth as a “troublemaker.” Shanahan then goes on to avoid working Haynesworth into base defense making it seem as though Haynesworth is some how incapable and better used that way. This probably in an effort to see how things go without him.  Shanahan, himself said, that Haynesworth had to earn his way into the group.

Haynesworth…who was dominant for the entire 2007/2008 season has to earn his way onto a defense that features the smooth stylings of Reed Doughty and Carlos Rogers?

So basically it looks like Haynesworth was a non-factor and therefore overpaid and spoiled (cause you know, he snuck into Dan Snyder’s house, stole his wallet, and wrote the checks to HIMSELF). The blown tackle against the Eagles who blew the Redskins into the wind didn’t help the imagery either.

Finally, last week, the  Skins complained that Haynesworth wouldn’t practice or didn’t practice well-at this point I’m confused about what actually happened- while simultaneously admitting that he was ill the day before.  They then deactivate him, and refuse to answer any questions about the deactivation until today’s announcement that he is suspended without pay.

Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret.

What this looks like to me, is that the Redskins had buyer’s remorse over Haynesworth and then set about a path to make it seems as though he is completely impossible to deal with on any level. The Redskins have actively tried to trade Haynesworth since at least April after he complained about the 3-4. They should have cut him then rather than heading down this rollercoaster road.

Let’s be clear, Haynesworth’s outspokenness and general fuck-you-and-fuck-you-too demeanor doesn’t help. But given the fact that I have the same demeanor, I know that demeanor does not equal guilt regardless of how it looks to an outsider.

Even if you believe Haynesworth has engaged in a series of decisions that warrant discipline, one has to admit that the Redskins have branded other players has troublemakers when they wanted to shop them, Clinton Portis, arguably their best blocker, being one of them. Further, the way they handled the McNabb benching (and subsequent 78 million contract worth nothing if they cut him this season) is yet another example of how this team operates. Call a man with a history of production fat and lazy, give him an opportunity to earn more money than God but then stick him behind an offensive line that couldn’t protect itself during sex wearing a condom and voila: The perfect scape goat.

The NFLPA shouldn’t allow the Skins to dodge paying Haynesworth through the rest of the season. It’s simply not ethical. And with all the drama going on around the Skins, whose conduct  REALLY detrimental to the team? Hint: It ain’t Hanynesworth’s.

If I had a crystal ball, I’d say Haynesworth ends up with another team next year (barring lockout) and does really well. Something tells me we have a Code Brandon Lloyd on our hands.

Listen to Haynesworth discuss the situation pre-suspension here.

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