x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Petty fines in NFL are borderline ridiculous

Players in the NFL must pay for high-risk hits, not for saying something inappropriate in private or wearing orange shoes instead of black.

Rex Ryan, the New York Jets coach, was fined for using profanity in a private conversation that wound up on the internet.
Rex Ryan, the New York Jets coach, was fined for using profanity in a private conversation that wound up on the internet.

The escalation of NFL fines imposed against coaches and players has reached the point of absurdity.

Rex Ryan, the Jets coach, was fined US$75,000 (Dh275,505) last week because of a four-word response to an obnoxious fan that included a profanity. (Ouch, $18,750 per word.)

Nobody would have noticed the exchange without a cellphone recording that wound up on the internet.

The league slammed Ryan because he was considered a repeat offender, having made an obscene gesture at a heckler during a mixed martial arts event.

There, he was Ryan the private citizen, not the New York coach, and his antics caused no harm.

Roger Goodell, the commissioner, hands out fines as if they are parking tickets. Earl Bennett, the Chicago receiver, was tapped $5,000 for wearing orange shoes.

Instead of advising the Bears to hide the shoes, the NFL allowed Bennett to repeat the fashion faux pas and hit him up for $10,000.

Belatedly, he switched back to black last week under threat of banishment from the field.

Monetary punishment for vicious, high-risk hits can be beneficial as a deterrent. The other penalties make the league appear petty.

At least the money goes to good causes - NFL-designated charities.

With as much as $4 million collected most seasons, the league is not exactly letting its transgressors off cheaply, but there must be a better way in a nation that accepts self-expression.