What is Roger Goodell doing?
Goodell went from the up-and-comer, making moves and taking sides to a man who has lost his mind.
It started with the crack down on off-the-field incidents. Players were going to pay for making bad choices off the field. Good. I liked it. Suspend Vick. Suspend Vincent Jackson, Roethlisberger, fine. Whether it was failing a substance test, or doing something illegal, Goodell was all about harsh penalties.
Then something happened. Roger got a little power hungry I assume. Rather than go through the proper channels to institute penalties, he just decided to become NFL dictator. During this season, he, almost randomly, decided to institute penalties and fines for rules he just made up.
To put it over the top, the dictator then went back and penalized players for the rules he created after they had already played games without them.
This would be like a cop pulling a driver over for being left-handed. He suddenly determined it is slightly more dangerous to be a south paw driver since the gear shift is only accessible with a driver's right hand. So the cop pulls a driver over, tells him he just made up this new law and is going to arrest him for it. That's Roger Goodell.
So now we have a power hungry commissioner who suspends harshly and creates rules and punishments before players even know the new rules are in place. He is potentially out of control.
So what happens? In Week 12, two players battle Fight Club style on the field, ripping off each others' helmets. Andre Johnson literally pummels Cortland Finnegan in the face repeatedly. And it wasn't like some NBA fights where every punch thrown misses; Johnson was beating him on the ground. What will Roger Goodell do with this baby?
Umm, almost nothing.
He fines both players $25,000. Neither was suspended. Wait, whaaa?
First of all, the fine was less than players were receiving for hits in-game while play was going on. James Harrison got fined more for a legal hit a few weeks ago. If that was ridiculous enough, neither player was suspended for a single game.
Now, Cortland Finnegan did not deserve a suspension. I agree with that part. He is annoying: a pest. But that isn't grounds for a suspension. He ripped off Johnson's helmet, so he was ejected and fined accordingly. The penalty fits the crime. He is an agitator and that was pretty much it.
What about Johnson though? He deserved to be ejected and fined for the same reasons as Finnegan. The difference is the boxing display he put on after the helmets were discarded. He popped Cortland directly in the face at least twice, once while on top of him on the ground. His actions were far worse than any helmet to helmet hit from any point prior in the season. But why was he given no suspension?
Because he is a nice guy.
Okay, now Roger Goodell has me confused. Which is it? Are you a dictator laying down the law, making examples of people, or are you a softy who lowers penalties for the nice guys in the league even if their actions were far worse than allowed?
Perhaps Andre Johnson was egged on. Well, in fact, I'm almost sure of it. Perhaps it was all Cortland Finnegan's fault. But, really, that doesn't matter. Andre Johnson should have been suspended for the remainder of the season. If that is too far for a "good guy", then he has to be suspended at least a game minimum. And remember, Johnson has been fined for fighting before, so he isn't a first-time offender in these instances.
The real quagmire in this is the change of heart from Goodell. Just a few weeks ago, he instituted new rules and harsh fines for questionable hits. He then fined players for the rule after they already played games before the rule existed. He claims to support player safety, yet wants a league with two more regular season games each season even though concussions are already piling up at record pace in the 16 game schedule.
Dictator Goodell has me confused. That's for sure. The bottom line is he messed up his most recent royal decree: Andre Johnson should not be taking the field this Thursday. I don't care how nice he is.