Head Shot Controversy
All the talk in the NFL this week has been about head shots, following a Sunday afternoon that featured a lot of devastating hits.
Let’s start here – the NFL fined three players for their actions last weekend and are threatening to suspend even first-time offenders starting right away if these types of hits continue. Normally a first offence warrants a fine, though the league says it isn't changing any rules here.
This week Pittsburgh’s James Harrison was hit with a $75,000 fine, while New England Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather and Atlanta Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson were docked $50,000 a piece.
Since the backlash over those hits, Harrison has been the most outspoken of the players who faced discipline. He says he’s not out to injure anyone, but he is out to hurt!
Harrison says his hit on Cleveland Browns receiver Mohamed Massaquio was a “good, clean, legit hit,” that he shouldn’t have been punished for. On the day, Harrison was responsible for concussions to Massaquio and Josh Cribbs on hits that came just minutes apart.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is all for the crackdown on dangerous hits, but says his player didn't break any rules on Sunday. Further to that, Harrison’s agent Bill Parise says his client is “quite confused about how to play football,” after these recent developments.
In fact he is apparently considering retirement, which would be a huge blow to Pittsburgh’s defense.
In other news – Black Sports Online reports that while the NFL was busy fining Harrison 75-large, they were also selling a photo of the crunching hit on the league website (though they’ve since taken it down, saying it was a mistake.)
Oh, I’ve got to get this in too: Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher isn’t happy either, sarcastically telling the Chicago Tribune that he thinks everyone should just wear flags and they can call it the National Flag Football League!
Speaking in Tongues
I’ll be honest with you – when I decided to write a weekly NFL blog, the last thing I thought I’d be writing about is this:
Canadian pop star Justin Bieber got in his own “Tom Brady looks like a girl” jab last week after reports that Brady had a run-in with former teammate Randy Moss, in which the latter made fun of his shaggy hairstyle.
The 16-year-old, who rocks a variation of the bowl cut himself, posted a rap video online that includes this gem: “Sacked like a sacker, call up Mr. Brady – Tell him to leave his hair to the guy who sings ‘Baby’.”
I’ve got two things to say about this: First of all, I don’t think Brady looks like a girl – he looks more like a surfer than anything else. Secondly, Bieber appears to have stolen some lines in that song from rapper Tory Lanez…which sort of takes away from the whole thing.
While we’re on the topic of Tom Brady – here’s a piece from The Huffington Post about some trash talk between him and Baltimore’s Terrell Suggs.
Last week we discussed the Brett Favre/Jenn Sterger controversy – and this week, the NFL met with the Vikings QB to talk about it…
Don’t ask him about it though – Favre only wants to talk about the Green Bay Packers right now. ESPN reports that Favre called it a “league matter” and nothing else…but you know what else it is? Something that could cost him dearly!
Yahoo! Sports says Brett Favre could end up losing $100-million – or $10-million per year, including post-retirement earnings. That hurts – perhaps even more than this!
As the prospect of a lockout looms over the heads of the NFL and it's players, the league is stepping up the tough talk in an effort to get a deal done.
Reports say the NFL will stop providing health care for players and their families in March if a new collective bargaining agreement isn't reached - saying it's just one more reason to reach an agreement. The PA obviously isn't happy with the move, which could likely make negotiations even more tense than they already are at this point.
Union executive director DeMaurice Smith says they're working on a plan of action because health insurance is something the players need, regardless of what happens.
CNBC reports they could take a page out of the NHL's book of labor strife - during the 2004-05 lockout, the NHLPA paid for substitute coverage for its members. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello says the union knows that this is an option, and shouldn't be "suggesting otherwise."
Meanwhile the Minnesota Vikings became the sixteenth team to vote to decertify the union, should it come down to a lockout. Doing so will allow the players to sue the NFL under antitrust laws right away, whereas the union would have to wait six months before filing suit.
The owners are acting positive, but the union's Smith isn't having any of it, telling the Minnesota Star Tribune "Until there is dry ink on a deal, we've told every one of our players that this lockout thing is going to occur," (you can read the entire interview here).
So...about that 2012 season...Don't get your hopes up!
TO and Chad Ochocinco cleared up a long-standing debate this week – saying that hockey players are tougher than football players.
Planning to take in some NFL action this season? CNBC runs down the season’s most expensive games (Awesomely, the 1-4 Cowboys feature four times!)
Speaking of “America’s Team,” reality show winner Jesse Holley was added to Dallas’ 53-man roster last week…So it’s come to this, has it?
Colts punter Pat McAfee is in trouble after a drunken dip in an Indianapolis canal…How much have you had to drink? “A lot cause I am drunk.”
It’s a week old and it’s college football…but this video of Sgt. Adam Sniffen delivering the ball for a Wolverines game by parachuting it in is the coolest thing you’ll see today.
Game to watch: The Minnesota Vikings face the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night – another meeting between Brett Favre and his old club. It’ll be interesting because Favre has all this drama around him and seemed to lack focus in his last outing. Beyond that, it’s always interesting to see how he’ll fare against the Packers!