Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Commissioner Goodell Only Fine Johnson, Finnegan $25,000 apiece

Big news yesterday was not the backlash of the streaking San Diego Chargers' whipping of Peyton Manning's Colts the night before, but rather the decision Roger Goodell made to only fine Houston Texans' wide receiver Andre Johnson and Tennessee Titans' defensive back Cortland Finnegan. To make matters worse, the fine was just $25,000 each.

As you all have likely heard by now, after pushing and shoving each other throughout the Tennessee/Houston game on Sunday afternoon, Johnson finally lashed out and threw--and connected on--multiple punches on Finnegan. Both helmets were ripped off each other as they tussled in the middle of the play in the second half of the game. They didn't even have the audacity to wait until the two teams had finished running the play. Finnegan, much smaller than the 6'3''/230-pound Johnson, didn't have a chance and wasn't even able to get a punch out before both benches had cleared and the two were broken up.

The two players never did have a liking for each other. In fact, this is now the second season in a row that Johnson has been fined for actions against his counterpart, Finnegan. Last September Johnson--usually a very quite and humble player who keeps to himself--was fined $7,500 by the league for a brush up he had with Cortland, during which both teams' benches were cleared as well.

It's hard to blame Johnson, really, considering Finnegan has gained an aggressive, almost dirty reputation from his fellow players over the last several years. It appeared as though Finnegan had done a bit of instigating, pushing Johnson to his limit and, eventually, over the top. Johnson snapped, and he will have to pay the consequences.

Fans and plenty of other people in the NFL society have shown their frustration with this mere 'slap-on-the-wrist' type punishment. Defensive players are being fined $50,000-$75,000 for helmet-to-helmet contact, yet Johnson can land multiple punches on a helmet-less player without a suspension, and just a $25,000 fine. It just doesn't seem right, and I agree 100% with any of Johnson's fellow NFLers who happen to speak out about this.
It seems to me as though Goodell is supporting, or at least not acting out against, this whole WWE-style persona. I don't like it and I think Johnson should face a minimum three-game suspension. Players have, rightly so, been getting hit with 4-6 game suspensions (sometimes even lengthier) for off-the-field issues, yet Johnson (and Finnegan, he's not completely innocent in this incident despite not throwing any punches) can beat on a defender and not face any major punishment.

It's not just this one incident that I have questioned, either. As I wrote about last week, Richard Seymour was ejected from last week's game, just like Johnson and Finnegan were two days ago, for sucker-punching Ben Roethlisberger after he threw a touchdown pass. But Seymour was also just hit with a $25,000 docking of his paycheck.

That's not the only thing that shocked me. It's one thing to just fine them with no suspension, but to give both Johnson and Finnegan the same dollar amount in fines is just ridiculous, in my opinion. Yes, Johnson was victorious in the fight, but that should mean he gets a larger sum of money docked, because of the fact that he was the one throwing the punches. Seymour had one punch, Johnson? Two or three solid, at least.

What I would have done? Fine Finnegan $25,000 with a one-game suspension and hit Johnson with a $50,000 fine and three-game suspension. But maybe that's just me.

Photo Credit
Andre Johnson: AP Photo/Dave Einsel

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