October 19th, 2010
06:22 PM ET

3 NFL players fined after weekend of violent hits

The National Football League has fined three players for flagrant violations of player safety rules during this weekend's games.

Pittsburgh Steeler James Harrison was fined $75,000. New England Patriot Brandon Meriweather and Atlanta Falcon Dunta Robinson were each fined $50,000.

Several players were injured Sunday in what some fans and observers perceived as a particularly violent weekend of football.

That led to an announcement from the NFL on Tuesday saying while the league may not specifically change any rules of the game, it will be more vigilant about ejecting and/or suspending players who have made flagrant hits.

Read more about the weekend of violent hits.

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Filed under: Pro football • Sports
soundoff (173 Responses)
  1. james

    I think it should levy suspensions and fines, for at least 3 games. They would not be allowed any contact with team, in those 3 weeks, Just like NASCAR tells its crew chiefs when they are suspended, remember Chad Knaus and the at home on the phone tells the fill in crew chief Ideas he has)

    That should teach them to be responsible. Flagrant disregard for another persons life should be dealt with swiftly, secerely and ruthlessly. Yes, they should be made to second guess their hit and is it proper.
    The gane won't miss the flying tackles. This proves they do more harm than good.

    And when fined , multiple players like this weekend should ALL be fined the same amount.

    October 19, 2010 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dylan

      why now all of the sudden? this has been happening since the beginning. is anyone making these guys play for the big bucks? should mma fighters swing for the gut more while only trying to ask for submissions nicely? people like gladiator mentality, thats why they tune in.. aka hockey fights etc. no one likes to see injuries but its no surprise. since slow-mo and replays and HD this is all just now being considered. UMM HELLO !!.. BOXING. THESE GUYS ARE NEVER THE SAME.. WHAT ABOUT THEM?! PLEASE THINK BEFORE YOU JUMP TO ACTION.

      October 19, 2010 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • JamBar

      @Dylan
      Severe injuries during the sport have been getting more common every year. The fault lies in part with better equipment which facilitates harder hits. Knee injuries are more common. Also might have something to do with chronic traumatic encephalopathy and other brain injuries which have followed in the wake of full helmets. This injury is the leading cause of footballers going insane in their 40's before dying.

      October 19, 2010 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Neil

      I know this is a grey area (meaning that there is room for reasonable people to debate), but this isn't football anymore, it's "sissyball". Every year I lose my enthusiasm for watching the NFL as it becomes more of a scripted dance than a game between grown men. I might as well go to the ballet. I realize that helmet hits can cause harm, but geez people, so can getting up and going to work in the morning. Either we accept the sport, or we ban it, but this slow dilution of its essence is just not for me.

      For those that find fun in this version of the sport, enjoy. I'm going to go do something more useful with my time than watching a field full of massive, scripted, ballet dancers that must follow such tedious and complicated rules that they spend more time trying to not run afoul of them than actually playing the game.

      October 20, 2010 at 6:29 am | Report abuse |
    • TCP

      Dylan, It has NOT been happening since the beginning. This is a relatively new phenomenon. Sure, there were injuries in the past and some violent hits but NOTHING like we have seen in the last 20 years or so...

      October 20, 2010 at 7:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Mitch

      While I agree that flagrant head-to-head hits need to be addressed, I think James' proposal is a little extreme. In the examples from this week alone you see two very different scenarios. Harrison seemed to throw his head into his tackle with total disregard. Robinson's hit was somewhat more benign. There are occasions when the defender has committed to the tackle and is simply unable to avoid the collision when the ball-carrier lowers their head/shoulder to absorb the blow. I akin this to an intentional foul vs unintentional in basketball. Was this incidental contact? Could the defender have avoided it? Did the offensive player cause it by lowering THEIR head? Maybe a one game suspension and fine for flagrant head shots. But those "incidental contact" hits warrant much less punishment. They really should be addressed more as cautionary. Use them to focus on the fact that better techniques need to be taught throught a players career.

      October 20, 2010 at 7:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      I thought football was a contact sport. Banning helmet to helmet hits is fine, but dont change the game.

      October 20, 2010 at 8:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Football is the closest game to actual squad-level warfare in America. Along with the physical aspect of the game there is the strategic side which of selecting plays which adds a chess-like atmosphere to the game.

      When I played football from pee-wee thru high school for the most part I tried to tackle the ball carrier/receiver – I wasn't trying to take someone's head off. Part of that was the training and feedback I received from my coaches. It was more important to make sure the ball carrier was tackled so he couldn't advance the ball then it was to make the flashy hit. "Wrapping up" and aiming for the waist/hips was drilled into me by most of my coaches.

      Often I see defensive players plant a good hit on a ball carrier but fail to make the tackle – the ball carrier bounces off and keeps advancing the ball. It's selfish on the part of the defensive player to go for flash instead of practicing good tackling techniques.

      Most players have a carrier of 2-3 years. They've invested most of their young life in sports. Trying to "hurt" a opposing player with a big hit to get praise from the media/fans or "jar loose" the ball takes away from the sport and the game of football. I encourage anyone to look up the definition of sport and game. There's nothing in those definitions about trying to hurt someone. Most players don't make those 40-100 million dollar contracts. It is sad to think that someone could suffer through the rest of their life for a career spanning all of 2-3 years. Head-shots and sensationalist-tackling should be discouraged and punished in my opinion.

      October 20, 2010 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      I agree that the helmet to helmet hits when people leave the ground to make the hit are very dangerous. And yes, the injuries have gone up significantly, but that probably also has a lot to do with the fact that steroid use in the NFL is out of control. There seem to be people injured every other play, and a lot of these injuries are due to the fact that these guys are bigger than they are supposed to be and there ligaments/tendons can't handle the stress they are put under. Not to mention the hits are bigger too. This new rule is going to pose a problem though because it is completely under the discretion of what they decide is a dangerous hit.

      October 20, 2010 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
    • outpatient8

      It's football. Not hop-scotch. People get hurt. They know the risks and they are VERY well compensated.

      October 20, 2010 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
    • boon

      i think all football should be banned..its ruined the economy and its killing our school kids..

      simple deal..ban it

      October 20, 2010 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      NFL players should be required to wrap up when they hit. It would solve many of the problems players are having with illegal hits, as well as reduce the number of missed tackles.

      October 20, 2010 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  2. brian

    James they were fined different amounts because James Harrison had multiple violent "questionable legality" hits, congratulations you've just shown how much you actually know about the situation you are commenting on.

    October 19, 2010 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • David, Tampa

      Well hi brian........ the CNN xpert ............arn't you just soooo clever.......... Bet ya don't talk like that in an evevator. smurf

      October 19, 2010 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Ha! Troll.

      October 20, 2010 at 7:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Nomad

      That's becasue he is a motorhead.

      October 20, 2010 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  3. Daniel

    This is football. It is, by it's nature, a violent contact sport.

    Changing the game to try and make it more PC and touchy-feely is just stupid. Injuries are part of the game. What's next? Saying that "smashmouth" offensive style, is too dangerous? Take running backs out of the game because it's too punishing on their bodies?

    Hey Commissioner, if you actually care about player health, then how about doing something like freezing/reducing the number of games in the schedule to take better care of *all* the players, and quit expanding the schedule to increase season wear & tear, while reducing everyone's career and making more money for the elite?

    Personally, I played at the high-school, college, and semi-pro level for many years and suffered several concussions. It's part of the game. I can still use an Oxford comma. Leave the hard-hitting defensive aspects of the game intact, along with the psychological deterrents inherent in its offensive/defensive battle

    I feel that continuing to treat offensive players like untouchable ceramic figurines, and imbalancing the game for higher scores and TV ratings is ruining the game.

    October 19, 2010 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • David, Tampa

      Don't watch it

      October 19, 2010 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nate.49

      I agree. Fully.

      October 19, 2010 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Abudu Mukarram

      "Personally, I played at the high-school, college, and semi-pro level for many years and suffered several concussions." We understand Daniel and thanks for explaining why you are so stupid.

      October 20, 2010 at 2:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      The idea of hitting someone as hard as you can IS NOT football. Contacting someone to halt their progress and bring them to the ground IS. Many times ridiculous "excessive force" is used to achieve this and it has been tolerated, often championed, in the name of sensationalism to sell the game......back to the days of the assassin and beyond. A small receiver for instance, being held up by another player doesn't deserve to be completely plowed by a second player (huge linebacker) in order to bring him down to the ground....in such cases, professionals should be able and required to use restraint.

      October 20, 2010 at 4:22 am | Report abuse |
    • JFairweather

      Football players are like greyhounds. They are pushed to the limit and when they are past their prime they are thrown on the junk heap. Remember that not all pro players make enough money to retire as millionaires and the impact of their football injuries lasts for the rest of their lives – far longer than their NFL health insurance. Check out the film Blood Equity.
      This is not the roman coliseum. Let's back off on the life-changing injuries.

      October 20, 2010 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  4. Dave

    I sick of people saying that violent hits are "just part of the game". I don't watch football in hopes of seeing players get nailed by cheap shots and miss the rest of the season. When a great talent like DeSean Jackson gets blasted by some idiot and is removed from the game then the WHOLE GAME SUFFERS because real talent has left the field.
    You boneheads that don't understand that probably just watch for the "WOW!" factor of people getting hurt and could care less about the skill involved. I'm glad the NFL agrees with me.

    October 19, 2010 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Name*tom

    This is the beginning of the end . Football is great because it is a violent sport,that is why we watch it . If you take out the violence you will not have a sport. The people that are enforcing this never played the game ,its obvious!

    October 19, 2010 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Abudu Mukarram

      And the people who aren't enforcing this have obviously played the game to much. Are you donating what's left of your brain to science too?

      October 20, 2010 at 2:15 am | Report abuse |
  6. jerryfelldown

    Flag football anyone?

    October 19, 2010 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. tomcat

    fines are not gonna stop them when you make a ridiculous salary 50k is chump change. suspend them the lack of face time will hurt them more.

    October 19, 2010 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. okay

    RIDICULOUS !! There goes the game.

    October 19, 2010 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. patsfan

    @ James
    You need to distinguish the difference between a dirty/illegal hit and a violent one.
    You can have plenty of violent clean hits.
    In 07 a player was paralyzed from a perfectly clean hit.

    Hard hits happen and you can't stop them. And honestly, fining players for 'violent hits' is not going to change anything; and neither is suspending them.

    @Dave
    Violent hits ARE part of the game. Have you ever played? Football is a rough violent sport, no matter what caliber you play.
    These are 6-some 200lbs- some guys flying at each other at full speed, the hits are going to be hard.
    A flying tackle? That's not a dirty hit, thats pure skill. To safely tackle like that without injuring anyone else or yourself and being successful is hard.

    Yea they should be fined for illegal, or dirty hits. But thats not going to change anything.
    And most the things these players are getting fined for, are ALREADY things you can get in trouble for. Head to head contact can already be fined

    October 19, 2010 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dyson

      Thank you for actual reasoning. They are just trying to keep the game safe for the players. While yes will happen you can limit the ways they happen.

      October 20, 2010 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  10. Schniggy VonFlugen

    It's obvious to me that many, including those who claim to know what they're talking about, do NOT. Anyone who has played or coached the game knows that you NEVER use the crown of your helmet. It's a completely idiotic and dangerous technique that serves only to hurt your opponent and yourself. Additionally, it's poor tackling technique that can often result in missing the tackle. See what you hit, wrap up. There will still be big hits, but not many serious injuries like we're seeing now.
    I have a cousin who is paralyzed as a result of such a hit and can tell you all about it.
    The NCAA has the best name for it: TARGETING. That's exactly what it is and there is no place for it in any kind of football. Suspend them 3 games. The 3rd time it happens, you're banned from the NFL.
    One of these days we're gonna watch someone get killed...right there on the field in front of God and everyone. Perhaps then it will hit home for some of these folks.

    October 19, 2010 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. wildman

    I love the way commentators, during the game, play along with the NFL about trying to rule out violent hits and then praise the defensive players who slam the quarterback or recievers. It seems very arbitrary how the penalties are assessed. It is going to be very difficult to rule out violence in the game of football.

    October 19, 2010 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Kyle

    Oh boo hoo, they are hitting too hard. Please grow a set, people! This is FOOTBALL, not "mamby pamby ball."

    October 19, 2010 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mitch

      It is not about hitting hard. There are plenty of bone-jarring hits every week that do not involve spearing, targeting or leading with your head. This is a safety issue that has been a part of football since I started in elementary school in the 70's. DO NOT LEAD WITH YOUR HEAD! It is preached at every level, but somehow lost once you start getting paid to play. Keep your head up, see what you are hitting and drive through the tackle. That will result in a big hit, less missed tackles and far less head injuries. It is really that simple. Leading with your heads is done purely for style.

      With that said, hits like the one that gave Aaron Rodgers a concussion a couple of weeks ago are incidental. The defensive player just happened to make contact with his head as he slid across the QB's body during the tackle. Not intentional. Unavoidable. Not something that should be fined or punished. It happens. When 22 athletes are throwing themselves at each other at a high velocity, there will be some head-to-head contact on occasion. The NFL, officials and players need to know the difference and act only on those that are flagrant. Heck, I have seen head-to-head collisions in hockey, baseball and basketball. It just happens!

      October 20, 2010 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
  13. William Hall

    This is not "TOUCH" or "FLAG" football!!!!! Come on here...this is bordering on being laughable!!!!! There were much harder hits 20 years ago with less padding and equipment. That is the game of FOOTBALL and no one is making them play the last I checked!!!! I miss "jacked up" on MNF!!!!!

    October 19, 2010 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • El_Capitan_De_Amerigo_Vespucci

      youre an idiot. the players are much stronger bigger and faster than 20 years ago.

      October 20, 2010 at 2:44 am | Report abuse |
  14. Russ

    Violent hits occur when players lower their heads and use them as battering rams against other players heads. That is flagrant and unnecessary. Any hits on players heads should be illegal and severe action taken. Fines won't do it. Suspensions will. Players want all the playing time possible to improve their stats, which will get them more money or into the Hall of Fame. People also don't watch football to see people knocked unconscious. They watch to participate in the excitement and see their team win. And, nobody cheers when a player is down and motionless on the field. People cheer when amazing plays are made. That is what they want to see. Football is exciting without violence. If you want violence, we should go back to the Roman times when they had gladiators and lions.

    October 19, 2010 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • herp derp

      hard hitting is not comparable to gladiator fights to the death.

      October 19, 2010 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kyle

      Speak for yourself. Nothing gets me fired up like when someone goes "lights out" due to a HUGE hit from someone on my team. Nothing.

      October 19, 2010 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • TCP

      @Kyle, well let's just hope YOUR the next guy to go "lights out"! And let's throw a little paralysis in for good measure...IDIOT!

      October 20, 2010 at 7:14 am | Report abuse |
  15. Brandon Stafford

    The NFL should be more like NASCAR. Where 6 week suspensions 100 point fines and $150,000 fines are the norm

    October 19, 2010 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • jayman419

      Nascar has a season that's like 11 months of racing, then an awards season that lasts another month. And if they manage to win just one of those hundreds of races, they're in for millions. Place in a few, and they have a pretty nice annual paycheck.

      Football has just 16 games over 4 months. That's it. You suspend a football guy for 3 games and that's more than a fifth of his year. You'd have to suspend a NASCAR guy for like 3 months to reach the same level of punishment.

      Besides, the way NASCAR has been bleeding viewers and fans, it's not like the premier sport league in the nation should take any advice from them on operations or improvement. CoT my az.

      October 20, 2010 at 7:37 am | Report abuse |
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