Want a peek into the NFL’s true feelings about concussions and player safety? Check out two fines handed out by the NFL today to Seattle Seahawks. If money talks in the NFL (and with the league still setting their sights on an 18-game schedule, it’s pretty safe to assume it does), these monetary penalties show the true priorities of the most financially successful sports league in North America.
Kyle Williams slipped and fell to the turf in Seattle on a 4th quarter kickoff return. Like a great white shark sniffing out a bleeding tuna, former 49er Michael Robinson sprinted over and speared Williams in the back of his right shoulder. Rookie linebacker Adrian Moten dove at Williams from the other side simultaneously, in effect providing Williams with a concussion sandwich. Moten’s helmet collided with Williams’ helmet, which led to a 15-yard penalty and this fine:
A few hours later, Adam Schefter tweeted this:
Oh, now I get it! Skittles must not be the “OFFICIAL CANDY OF THE NFL.”
There appears to be a standard fine for cleat violations, since Michael Crabtree was also levied with a $10K fine for wearing gold cleats against the Steelers. Donte Whitner was fined $5,000 for wearing long black socks during the same game, and Kyle Williams has been fined $5K on more than one occasion for having too much white showing on his socks (kind of amusing that the NFL sounds like my mom’s old stories about the nuns scrutinizing everyone’s uniforms at her all-girls Catholic school).
At least we have a frame of reference here in terms of the NFL’s punishment scale:
Wearing the wrong socks < hitting a defenseless player in the head < wearing the wrong shoes.
While the NFL has ramped up fines for unnecessary hits that could (and often do) cause concussions, some such hits just aren’t as detrimental to the league as a pair of cleats that either are too unique or contain product placement that the NFL doesn’t collect on.
Just remember this when the NFL lawyers up to the nth degree in an effort to combat more than a dozen lawsuits filed on behalf of over 120 former players and their wives claiming the NFL didn’t do enough to prevent or treat head injuries. The NFL’s worried only about money earned and saved, and these so-called efforts to curb concussions wouldn’t even exist if they didn’t fear a public relations fallout and/or more damaging future lawsuits. In other news, I could sure use some Skittles right now.