Pittsburgh Steelers safety Mike Mitchell called for the firing of commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday, citing the league's inconsistency with punishments in defense of teammate JuJu Smith-Schuster:
Smith-Schuster was suspended one game for a blind-side block on Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict on Monday night. The rookie wideout stood over Burfict after the block, as if to taunt him and drew a 15-yard personal foul penalty.
Smith-Schuster apologized after the game, saying it was never his intention to hurt Burfict, who has a reputation as arguably the NFL's dirtiest player. The Bengals linebacker has been punished on numerous occasions for on-field infractions.
Steelers receiver Antonio Brown called the hit "karma." Meanwhile, Mitchell criticized the league for its overzealous punishment of hard hits.
"At the end of the day, this is football," Mitchell told reporters. "If you want to see flag football, then let's take our pads off. That would make it easier for me because I don't gotta wear heavy (expletive), but give us flags because then I know what we're playing. I signed up to play full-speed contact football, and we're not doing that. I feel like I gotta ask an offensive player, 'Is it OK for me to hit you right now before I hit you?' And that's crazy."
Mitchell also said he's "disappointed" in Goodell.
"Obviously, everybody—from fans, players, owners—are all disappointed in Roger Goodell," he said. "We can’t have a guy where you hand out discipline as you see fit, there needs to be a set guideline of how we do what we do."
Unfortunately for Mitchell, it does not appear Goodell is going anywhere. He signed a five-year, $200 million contract extension this month, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.