With all the rash fines handed out by the NFL to various players over the last several weeks in what seems to be an organization out of control, one must ask—why?
Well, some would say that the NFL is trying to protect its image, or protect the players. But, if this was the case, why fine players for hits during a game that were never penalized in said game? Why penalize players for hits that weren't illegal, cheap or intended to hurt a player? For hits that are just part of this physical game?
Here are just some of the fines handed down recently—some are for mouthing off to officials, but most are for hits that were not penalized during a game. In any case, the idea is that there are so many fines in such a short amount of time that it makes one raise an eyebrow as to why?
Hines Ward, Pittsburgh Steelers, $10000, against Jacksonville Jaguars, and
$5000, against the Baltimore Ravens
James Harrison, Pittsburgh Steelers, $20000, against the Jacksonville Jaguars
Ryan Clark, Pittsburgh Steelers, $7500, against the Jacksonville Jaguars
Nate Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers, $7500, against the Jacksonville Jaguars
Julius Peppers, Carolina Panthers, $10000, against the Jacksonville Jaguars
Richie Incognito, St Louis Rams, $35000, against the Washington Redskins
Adrian Wilson, Arizona Cardinals, $25000, against the Buffalo Bills
Dre Bly, Denver Broncos, $20000, against the Jacksonville
Joey Porter, Miami Dolphins, $20000, against the Houston Texans
I believe the answer lies in the absence of one man—Gene Upshaw.
It is a strange coincidence that these fines have increased tremendously since his passing, that they seem to go unchecked or unquestioned before they are handed down. If every fine has to go through the NFL Players Association for review, then there seems to be no review process at all.
It seems that Upshaw intercepted these potential fines and questioned them before ever getting handed down to players, therefore reducing the number of frivolous fines given to players.
It's a theory, but the timing and nature of all these fines would seem to indicate that there is currently no checks and balances in the NFL with regards to handing out fines to players as there was when Gene Upshaw was in charge.