Blog Entry

League gets it right with Harrison

Posted on: December 13, 2011 11:07 am
Edited on: December 13, 2011 11:56 am
Let's hear it for the NFL. It did the right and necessary thing by suspending Pittsburgh's James Harrison on Tuesday.

Harrison's hit on Colt McCoy didn't merit a suspension. It warranted a fine. But Harrison's series of incidents -- the fact that he's a multiple offender with illegal hits -- did qualify him for suspension, now more than ever.

Look, the NFL is trying to address head injuries and made it clear it will not tolerate blows to the helmet. So it fines players who do it, and sometimes they get the message, and sometimes they do not.

Harrison clearly did not. So that means the NFL must try something else to get his attention.

It just did.

Pittsburgh fans might see this as part of a grand conspiracy and their hard-hitting Steelers' defense, but they're wrong. Harrison and the Steelers have been warned again and again. And again and again they refuse to listen. That put the NFL in a position of having to respond -- basically, having to make it clear it means what it says -- so it just upped the punishment, and I'm all for it.

Maybe it works. Maybe it doesn't. But it had to be done.

I don't care what it means to Pittsburgh's playoff chances or chances of winning a division. I care what it means to the next guy James Harrison was going to clobber. Harrison didn't, and maybe he should have. The NFL warned him and notified him this was possible.

Harrison didn't listen. Instead, he dared the league to respond. So it did.

The NFL isn't trying to change his game. It's trying to change its game by keeping more players on the field, and what's so wrong with that? Nothing, that's what.

Category: NFL

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 13, 2011 2:28 pm

League gets it right with Harrison

 A violent profession. These guys are paid insanely high hazard pay for the risk they take. 

But, a lot of them AREN'T paid an insane amount, by sports standards anyway, for the risk they take.  And contracts aren't guaranteed, so you're one bad hit away from being out on your ass.    Considering the amount of money involved, you'd think the players would insist on higher pay, firm contracts and better workers' compensation in exchange for the risk.  Except that the owners would start kicking and screaming about anyone cutting into their money machine should that happen.

So, they continue to dance this dance and hope nothing bad happens.    Personally, I don't think it can continue forever this way. 

Since: Oct 19, 2006
Posted on: December 13, 2011 2:18 pm

League gets it right with Harrison

The NFL has gotten soft.  This is the end result.

I know!  They should bring back the clothsline, leather helmets, and goal posts on the goal line.  Screw player safety!

I'm still waiting for Harrison to recognize you can actually tackle with your pads as opposed to helmet first.

Since: Aug 25, 2006
Posted on: December 13, 2011 2:18 pm

League gets it right with Harrison

This is great, the first offense this year is a suspension.  Yeah that makes sense.  Judge is an idiot

you sir are a dumbass of the highest order....this has nothing to do with this year...its everything else in life what you have done in the past follows you around..this dude has been fined through the gills and it just didnt matter to the nfl has done something that makes it matter to him...he hurt his entire team because of his actions.

if you get a dui it doesnt go away because you didnt get another one for a whole year...

Since: Jul 19, 2007
Posted on: December 13, 2011 2:13 pm

League gets it right with Harrison

The NFL has gotten soft.  This is the end result.  Dumb fines, dumb suspensions for good hits.  I wish they would lay out suspensions for all of the ridiculous TD celebrations that are choreographed each and every Sunday in the NFL.  I for one would like to see these go away and the hitting remain.  Yeah, suspend for dumb TD celebrations...that would be about as subective as fining and suspending players for "hitting too hard"...GO STEELERS!

Since: May 14, 2007
Posted on: December 13, 2011 2:12 pm

League gets it right with Harrison

Listen, I'm a Steeler's fan and this hits close to home because they've chosen to make Harrison their poster boy in this farce of a stand on "player safety". But I'm disgusted by the lack of consistent from week to week and game to game and play to play with respect to this. Such a frustrating thing to watch when game after game is decided by huge calls made (or not made) by officials who have no idea what is and isn't "illegal". Just so hard to watch. So frustrating to watch. And my team is actually winning through all of this, can't imagine being a fan of a team that can't overcome this stuff.

Isn't it baseball season yet?

Since: May 14, 2007
Posted on: December 13, 2011 2:05 pm

League gets it right with Harrison

I completely agree with you that the league has been wishy-washy here. But the reason is obvious, you said it yourself. People want to see big hits and they don't want to drive those people away. You could solve this by embracing what you are. A violent profession. These guys are paid insanely high hazard pay for the risk they take. With all of the lawyers they have running scared about possible future lawsuits, it's mind-boggling to me that they can't come up with waivers for these guys to sign obsolving them of future liability. If you dont' want the risk that comes with the pay check, get an actual job - don't play a violent, dangerous game.

Problem is the league isn't happy making 90 Billion dollars and having tens of millions of fans. They want to make Zillions of dollars and have hundreds of millions of fans. And to do that you need to water down your product and make it more main stream. Maybe that's the right move. Maybe it will draw in tons of new fans. But the downside is not bringing in those fringe fans and creating a product your real fans don't want to watch.

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 13, 2011 2:05 pm

League gets it right with Harrison

Of course, it's about money, rodponton.  But, it would just take ONE successful lawsuit by an ex-player to expose the entire league to huge liabilities.

But, they're caught between a rock and hard place because there are plenty of people like you who will take your dollars elsewhere if they ban big hits.  They can't outlaw such things, but they can't continue letting huge players take pot shots at each other either.  So, they have to try to split the difference by taking some actions to make it LOOK like they care about players health, while not doing enough to actually protect their players because people like all the hitting.  It's a fine line to walk, but I suspect as more and more information comes out about the long-term negative effects of playing the game, they're going to be forced to act to keep the money train rolling.  Either they cut more of the brutal aspects of the game or they let it move toward the show in the Roman Colosseum. 

Since: Jan 30, 2007
Posted on: December 13, 2011 1:59 pm

League gets it right with Harrison

This is great, the first offense this year is a suspension.  Yeah that makes sense.  Judge is an idiot.

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 13, 2011 1:57 pm

League gets it right with Harrison

Ultimately, I think 'KO 90' is right about the enforcement issue, though.  Because the NFL has been forced to react to stories about ex-players concussions, they've acted in a piecemeal fashion to the issue.  The result is enforcement that looks haphazard because that's what it is. 

The reason, though, is obvious.  They know that a large portion of their fanbase lives to see the big hit, not to see a WR run a perfect double move.  So, they think that they cannot be seen to make wholesale changes to the rules for fear of driving those people away.  Moreover, there's a 'macho' attitude among players who don't want to be seen as pussies for advocating rules that might protect their long-term health.  (Hell, listen to ex-player Mark Schlereth on ESPN complaining about the league legislating away from big hits even though his body is a total mess as a result of the game.) 

So, instead of making clear rules with clear and strong punishments, and requiring better helmets (which would seem to be a no-brainer, no pun intended), the league tinkers around the edges and hopes things get better.  Maybe a serious lawsuit by ex-players is what's needed to really get the league to take strong action.

Since: Mar 7, 2008
Posted on: December 13, 2011 1:56 pm

League gets it right with Harrison

You are an idiot just like most of the media.. Harrison has not been fined all year, so why suspension now. He has changed his game and you can see many times he now pulls up when he could hit someone. You're showing what a hypocrit you rae. There are numerous players who have had multiple fines and have not been suspendd, some more more flagrant stuff than hitting a QB out side of the pocket. Look at Richard Seymour, he has been ejected and fined twice for throwing a punch. Do you consider that a football play? Look at the numerous late hits Ray Lewis has made. I have no problem with suspensions and fines if they are consistent, but it seems there is no objective guideline for the actions taken by Goodell and his discipline team, they are very hapharzard, and you and other media have opinions that are also very inconsistent. I guess the old saying is corrct, "opinions are like assholes, everyone has one." And unfortunately the media and sports writers have way too many "opinions."

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