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 NFL Confidential: Hard not to second-guess player punishment in bounty case

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PostSubject: NFL Confidential: Hard not to second-guess player punishment in bounty case   Sun May 06, 2012 10:45 am

By Vito Stellino
May 5, 2012 - 10:51pm
NFL Confidential: Hard not to second-guess player punishment in bounty case
Justice in the NFL can be hard to explain.

For example, James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers was suspended for one game last December for his fifth illegal hit on a quarterback in a three-year span when he decked Cleveland’s Colt McCoy. He’d also been fined for two other non-quarterback hits.

By contrast, four players – including two current New Orleans players – were suspended for multiple games for their role in the Saints’ bounty scheme, including a year’s suspension for Jonathan Vilma.

Those players didn’t actually knock a player out of a game and quarterback Kurt Warner, supposedly one of the main targets, said on the Dan Patrick Show last week that in looking back at the 2009 playoff game, “I don’t ever remember thinking it was anymore more than a tough playoff game. I don’t remember anything that was beyond the whistle.’’

Vilma was accused of putting up a $10,000 bounty on Warner and Brett Favre, a charge Vilma denied last week.

“I never put any money into a bounty pool,’’ he said.

The suspensions will be the subject of much litigation. The NFL Players Association has already filed a grievance contending commissioner Roger Goodell shouldn’t hear the appeal of his own ruling.

In the end, Goodell’s suspensions may stand because he has wide latitude under the collective bargaining agreement.

But Goodell’s actions look rather arbitrary considering there were supposedly up to 27 players involved. He said he focused on players who were in leadership positions and contributed a large sum of money toward the program.

He also needs to be more consistent in his discipline, considering the difference in penalties for Harrison and Vilma.

But the controversy over the Saints’ penalties shouldn’t obscure the fact that the NFL has a major problem trying to make the game safer.



Read more at Jacksonville.com: http://jacksonville.com/sports/football/jaguars/2012-05-05/story/nfl-confidential-hard-not-second-guess-player-punishment?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+jacksonville%2FksHE+%28Jacksonville+Jaguars+%2B+Jaguars+News+-+Jacksonville.com+and+The+Florida+Times-Union%29#ixzz1u6JL2Ott

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