Report: Vikings GM Rick Spielman 'Livid' About George Iloka's Reduced Suspension

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistDecember 10, 2017

NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 21:  General manager Rick Spielman of the Minnesota Vikings watches action prior to a game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on September 21, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman was "livid" after the NFL reduced the punishment for Cincinnati Bengals safety George Iloka from a one-game suspension to a fine, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.

Per that report:

"The Vikings lost safety Andrew Sendejo for a game early this season for a hit to the head of Ravens receiver Mike Wallace, which dislodged Wallace's helmet. Sendejo's suspension was upheld on appeal, and, after ... Iloka had his suspension for a similar play, a powerful helmet-to-helmet hit on Antonio Brown Monday night, reduced on appeal, Vikings officials were quickly on the phone to league headquarters to lodge their complaints."

La Canfora added that Spielman "wanted the football operations staff—led by Troy Vincent—to clarify or explain why the outcomes of these two discipline processes were not the same."

Spielman wasn't the only one incensed by the ruling. Various members of the Steelers were publicly critical of the league office after Iloka's supension was reduced to a $36,464.50 fine but Pittsburgh wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster—who illegally blocked Vontaze Burfict and taunted him while the linebacker was on the ground—lost his appeal.

Joe Rutter of TribLive.com described an irate locker room after those decisions:

"In an emotionally charged post-practice locker room, Ramon Foster took a verbal shot at the NFL's vice president of football operations, and Mike Mitchell and Maurkice Pouncey railed against the league's disciplinary standards.

"Jon Runyan, the NFL vice president who levied the suspensions Monday, was called a 'pawn' by Foster, the Steelers union representative. Pouncey called the disciplinary process 'stupid,' and Mitchell said the NFL is trying to turn the sport into 'flag football.'"

As La Canfora noted, the league office has faced continued scrutiny this season over what is often perceived to be its inconsistent handling of disciplinary issues.

Iloka's teammate Carlos Dunlap, however, felt the safety shouldn't have been suspended in the first place.

"What JuJu did was definitely over the line," he said, per the Associated Press. "What George did—I feel like he was making a play. He knew the receiver was trying to catch the ball. I don't think he targeted where he ended up hitting him.

"They suspended him because of what was going on and probably because of how the media portrayed the game. They felt that pressure. It should have been [only] a fine, and the other guy should have a suspension."

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