Cough Up: Should NFL Players Be Fined Thousands of Dollars For Penalties?

Jonathan FrayneContributor ISeptember 22, 2010

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 6:  Devin Thomas #11 of the Washington Redskins runs the ball while being held by the facemask during the game  against the New Orleans Saints at FedExField on December 6, 2009 in Landover, Maryland. The Saints defeated the Redskins in overtime 33-30. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
Larry French/Getty Images

During the Sunday night game against the Indianapolis Colts, New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs vented his frustration by tossing his helmet into the stands. This resulted in Jacobs being fined $10,000 by the NFL.

The Jacobs helmet toss incident was out of order and could have hurt someone. Brandon Jacobs admitted this and apologised. In this case the fine was merited as it was dangerous and endangered fans.

What I'm questioning is the effect that fines have on players who have committed penalties.  


Last week saw the usual number of fines dished out for unnecessary roughness violations. Jay Ratliff was fined $5,000 for roughing the passer, Vikings OT Phil Loadholt was fined $10,000 for two unnecessary roughness violations after grabbing his opponent's facemask twice, Broncos DL Ryan McBean was fined $5,000 for a facemask call and Titans LB Stephen Tulloch was fined $7,500 for unnecessary roughness after a horse collar tackle.

With the lucrative contracts that NFL players earn, the money they spend on fines doesn't bother them, just ask Chad Ochocinco.

Players aren't going to be careful what they do on the field so as to avoid being fined, so what's the purpose of the NFL issuing fines. The 15 yard penalty which is given on the field is a punishment and this hurts the team as well as the player, so is this not enough? Games have been won or lost off the back of unnecessary roughness calls so a fine on top seems harsh.




Football is a physical game and in the heat of the moment offenses like horse collar tackles are unavoidable. Penalties between the whistles are just part of the game and I think its pointless to fine players for their actions. A serious incident after the whistle (Albert Haynesworth's stamp for example) should be punished but petty fines for a horse collar tackle should be done away with in my opinion.

So what should the NFL do to punish players?

Nothing much. Just the penalty on the field is enough and if teams want to fine players then they can, but for unimportant incidents, there is no need for the NFL to intervene. I know money from fines goes to charities and other organizations, but NFL players are very generous and give to charities anyway. Many have their own foundations.

If a player is repeatedly committing fouls then the threat of one game suspensions is a good idea, like the NFL did with safety Roy Williams for his horse collar tackles. But $5,000 for simply grasping an opponents facemask whilst trying to make a tackle?

Unnecessary Roughness? Unnecessary fines.