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Chad Ochocinco: Should the New England Patriots WR Pay Mason Foster's Fine?

Ryan KennedyAnalyst IIAugust 25, 2011

Chad Ochocinco: Should the New England Patriots WR Pay Mason Foster's Fine?

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    Chad Ochocinco recently reiterated his intent to pay Mason Foster's $20,000 fine for his hit on Ochocinco in last week's preseason game between the New England Patriots and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    Ochocinco was initially told that he could not pay Foster's fine. That was before the fine was even handed out.

    Ochocinco called out the NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, letting him know that he would be ignoring that mandate.

    Via Twitter Ochocinco stated, "@nflcommish Dad no disrespect but I don't agree with @mason_foster fine n I'll be reimbursing him personally.Please feel free to contact me."

    Ochocinco might feel this is right in his bones, but should he pay the fine?

    Yes, he should. These are the three reasons why.

Players Need to Play

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    The NFL has changed multiple rules recently to make the game safer for its players. The NFL was seeing too many players getting injured, and owners were becoming concerned that their investments were being injured at too high a rate.

    That, coupled with the recent findings on concussions and brain damage amongst football players, led the NFL to make some changes.

    Not all of them have been great.

    The kickoff rule is certainly among the worst in history, and plenty of people have expressed their disappointment.

    Mason Foster was fined under the defenseless-receiver rule.

    In short this rule can be described as strange.

    Certainly, a receiver who has left his feet cannot control his body or brace for a hit, but players on the ground can.

    The defenseless receiver rule also has a clause that can be summed up as follows: A player who has control of the ball and two feet on the ground but has not started to make a running motion is considered defenseless.

    WHAT?!!?!

    A player who has his feet on the ground and the ball is not defenseless. They can guard from taking a hit.

    As Ochocinco would say, child please.

If the Player Getting Hit Says It's Clean... It's Clean

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    Certainly, there are times when there is a dirty play that doesn't get called and the player who gets hit immediately gets on the microphone after the game and tells everyone about it.

    Not too often do you hear players say the opposite.

    NFL players generally don't whine when there is a clean hit, saying it was dirty. Not only would it make it seem as though they were complaining, but it would make them look less masculine in the ultra-masculine NFL culture.

    In the NBA flopping is a common practice; actions like that are not as prevalent in the NFL.

    When a player talks about a hit, whether clean or dirty, they generally talk about blatantly dirty plays that were called as such. They either agree or say that it is the referee's call.

    Not often do they go out of the way to defend the guy who hit them and then agree to pay the bill.

    That would make me think that the hit was clean.

There Is an Inherent Risk in Playing Football

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    When boys sign up for football when they are young, their mothers ultimately worry that they will end up getting hurt because it is a contact sport.

    They try to persuade them to play something "safer."

    Every single NFL player knows the risk that comes with playing football. They have been aware of it since they first put on the pads.

    Granted, most players could not make the type of money they make doing anything else, so they have that incentive to get on the field, but if they feel the risk is too much, they need to get off the field.

    Ricky Williams liked to smoke pot so much that he kept getting suspended and fined even though he knew he was breaking rules. Williams cared more about smoking pot then making money and retired.

    Although it's not quite the same, NFL players know that playing could lead to injury.

    If they care more about not getting injured than getting their checks, they should quit, too.

Conclusion

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    Chad Ochocinco should reimburse Mason Foster because he understands that football is a physical game.

    Ochocinco has stated that Foster played the game the right way, there was nothing malicious in his hit, and no one was worse off for it.

    Football is getting soft. Former players will tell you that.

    Ochocinco gets that the fine against Foster isn't fair. Maybe he shouldn't be the one paying Foster back, but it sends the message that the fine itself was wrong.

    Maybe the NFL is right in trying to protect some of its players with some of the rules changes, but in the process they are fundamentally changing the way players play from what they have been taught since they first laced up.

    It's changing the NFL from a fan perspective, too.

    Fans don't want to see their favorite teams lose due to questionable calls. Imagine if your team won the Super Bowl on the final drive due to a ticky-tack call. It would undoubtedly cheapen the victory. The NFL is getting close to that.

    Ochocinco, send a message. Cut that check!

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