The NFL (No Fun League)

Jordan HeckContributor IIIDecember 20, 2009

CINCINNATI - NOVEMBER 29:  Chad Ochocinco #85 of the Cincinnati Bengals looks on during the NFL game against the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium on November 29, 2009 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Perhaps the biggest donator to charity this season is Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco (formally known as Chad Johnson).
    Whenever a player is fined, the NFL donates most of the money to a charity. The latest fine came a few weeks ago after Ochocinco scored a touchdown. The crime? Wearing a sombrero and poncho. The fine? $30,000.
    Typically, one would wear a poncho to keep dry in the rain, but apparently its new use is to draw ridiculous amounts of money out of your pockets.
 This isn’t the first time that Chad has been fined this season. He was fined just last month for “bribing” an official. In what was the most obvious display of a joke, Ochocinco pulled out a one dollar bill during a replay challenge (and was smiling the entire time) to try and make the official reverse the call. How much for this fine? $20,000.
Apparently commissioner Roger Goodell takes the wearing of ponchos more serious than a potential bribe.
    Ochocinco isn’t the only victim of the NFL’s tight (I’m talking psych-ward straight jacket tight) rules. Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker was fined $10,000, wait for it…for making a snow angel.
Along with the fine and snow, Welker picked up a 15 yard penalty on the play and had this to say, "I just got a little bit too excited there. I really didn't think it would be a penalty. I wouldn't have done it if I thought it was.”
Not only did he not think it would be a penalty, but I highly doubt he thought he would be spending his money after celebrating in the snow.
But the spending spree doesn’t end, there are more absurd fines coming. Safety Kerry Rhodes, and running back Steven Jackson were both fined for throwing a ball into the stands. While making a nice souvenir for somebody who attended the game, it cost these two players $5,000 each.
Can you believe they just willingly threw $5,000 footballs into the stands like that? Seriously, if it doesn’t cost the NFL $5,000 to replace the football, then why charge such a steep price? However, if a Green Bay Packers player wants to hurdle himself into the stands for 2 minutes then everything is fine and dandy.
Maybe I am going to too far with this. Maybe the more serious penalties are more heavily fined. Maybe when a player punches a player on the ground, he gets fined more, right? Wrong. Tommie Harris, a defensive tackle for the Chicago Bears, was only fined $7,500 for punching Cardinals guard Deuce Lutui while he was on the ground. Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive lineman was fined $25,000 for striking an opponent after the play was over in a game verse the Carolina Panthers. New York Giants center Shaun O’Hara and the Eagles defensive end Trent Cole were both involved in a fight with each other, which ended up with hard punches thrown, and helmets coming off. However, they were only fined $15,000.
Let’s think about this for a minute. Goodell has been quoted to saying this “It is important that the NFL be represented consistently by outstanding people as well as great football players, coaches, and staff. We hold ourselves to higher standards of responsible conduct because of what it means to be part of the National Football League.” By ‘higher standards’, he’s saying that we think wearing a poncho is 4x worse than punching a guy and knocking his helmet off. Not a very good message that commissioner Goodell is sending.
The NFL should embrace players like Ochocinco, not try and drive them away. He’s good for the game’s entertainment, which is what the NFL is. Why do you think HBO picked the Bengals for their Hard Knocks show? Is it because the Bengals went 4-11 last season, or because Chad Ochocinco is an entertainer? I’d go with the latter. So NFL, or No Fun League, stop fining one of your biggest entertainers. People come out to games because of him, they want to see what he’s going to pull out of sleeve next. Although it’s unlikely Ochocinco will completely stop his antics, he may think twice about doing something, and we don’t want that to happen.