Roger Goodell Should Have Suspended Johnson, Fined Cortland Finnegan

Robert ReesContributor IINovember 30, 2010

HOUSTON - NOVEMBER 28:  Wide receiver Andre Johnson #80 of the Houston Texans is separated by umpire Garth DeFerlice #53 from cornerback Cortland Finnegan #31 of the Tennessee Titans after the two exchanged punches in the fourth quarter at Reliant Stadium on November 28, 2010 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

"They slugged it out." "They brawled." "They traded punches."

All wrong. 

Is Cortland Finnegan a dirty player? Possibly. He's definitely a chippy player and he definitely pushes the line. In Sunday's loss to Houston, Finnegan didn't cross the line, Andre Johnson did.

The incident started on the previous play when Johnson successfully blocked the much smaller Finnegan. Finnegan was upset and the smack talking started.

On the next play Finnegan bumped Johnson on the line of scrimmage. (A totally legal play).

Yes, he jabbed a little higher than where he should have, but in the NFL it's not uncommon for a defensive back to jab at the neck instead of the chest, especially when they're upset.

Legally speaking, Finnegan's actions were football actions. Rough and maybe dirty football actions, but football none-the-less.

Johnson retaliated with a non-football action. He ripped off Finnegan's helmet, threw him to the ground (like a mosquito) and started throwing punches like he was in the MMA.

As the cavalry came to the rescue Finnegan's feisty self got up and ripped off Andre Johnson's helmet, (probably more in self defense), but still did not throw any punches. 

Finnegan was frustrated, Johnson was frustrated but only one of them lost their cool. Finnegan definitely should have been fined, but as much as I like Johnson, he should have been suspended at least one game.

What happened to the rough and tough NFL commissioner? The guy threw punches.

Everyone is jumping on Finnegan, but once again, his was a football move. You may not like it, other players may not like it, but he's not the only one playing that way.

I've seen high school kids play that way! It's just one aspect of the game. Throwing punches has never been and never will be.

Granted, Johnson's clean history is probably what got him off this time, but I don't think it should. Keep it on the field.