When Charles Woodson sucker punched David Thomas in the NFL's season opener, most were quick to throw the red flag of shame; even feeling that he should have been ejected.
I feel as though that is downright harsh.
Roger Goodell is inconsistent with all the ridiculous fines, punishments and suspensions that he has enacted on all the players, but he wasn't playing favorites here.
Woodson is a different man than what he was six years ago as an immature, injury-prone player that had lost a step. Then, he looked as though he probably couldn't play the game anymore.
Today's Woodson is now a former Defensive Player of the Year, a leader, a hard worker and has a new found passion for the game. But what does being a good player have to do with any of this?
The reason that is all relevant is because it is all linked to his maturity. Everything Woodson is today is because he made a decision to become a new man, and therefore, a new player.
Fining Woodson would be like throwing everything he has accomplished out of the window. Not because of what he has accomplished on the field, but because what he has done is represented on the field.
The NFL sees that Woodson has grown up, and they know that it's unlikely Woodson will punch another player. Woodson admitted to what he did, and accepted that he deserved a fine. That's better than what most players would do.
A $50,000 fine would be saying that the league doesn't care about maturity, but a $10,000 fine is a warning, and also a message to Woodson saying "we recognize that this is uncharacteristic of you, and we know you won't do it again based on your reputation."
I'm sure the NFL will give Woodson a bigger fine if it's to happen again, but that's the point. It probably won't happen again. When the NFL gives Charles Woodson a break, you should too!