By now, unless you are deaf dumb and blind, you’ve seen or heard about the brawl that broke out last week between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns. It all started when Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph took offense to what he thought was a late hit by Browns defensive end Myles Garrett.
Mason tried unsuccessfully to rip off Garrett’s helmet, but Myles not only succeeded in ripping off Mason’s helmet, but he then used it to konk the quarterback over the head with all his might. That’s when the other players chimed in. What sports writers called a brawl looked like mostly pushing and shoving with an added kick or two.
Garrett was suspended indefinitely and Rudolph was fined $50,000. A total of $732,422 in fines were meted out to 33 players. Each team was fined $250,000.
The NFL thinks the sky will fall in if kids see players fighting. The fines and suspensions are designed to prevent fighting among players because such fights would make kids believe that violence is the way to go. But watching fight-less violence for three hours will make kids believe that violence is not OK … yeah, right.
Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association also do not want kids to see players fighting.
Actually, the National Hockey League has it right. The NHL allows fighting between players. When two players drop their gloves and engage in some good old fisticuffs, officials will not break up the fight until the fighters go down on the ice. Each of the combatants is then sent to the penalty box for five minutes. If two players start slugging each other with their gloves still on, they are sent to the penalty box for two minutes for ‘roughing.’
The NHL does meet out fines and suspensions to players for any aggravated commission of penalties designed to keep players from being injured.
Talk about brawls, there have been some really good ones with even the goalies dropping their gloves and coming to center ice to exchange blows. The 5-minute fighting penalties and the 2-minute roughing penalties are designed to discourage fighting and there are actually few fights. But the NHL does not believe, and rightfully so, that the fights will have an adverse impact on kids.
Back to the Steelers-Browns brawl, the indefinite suspension of Garrett is correct. He could have caused Rudolph a serious injury by konking him in the head with his helmet. However, Rudolph’s fine seems ridiculous. As for the rest of the players, most of those involved in the brawl should have been kicked out of the game at most. The player trying to kick Garrett should have also been fined. That’s it, period.
The NFL has a much, much bigger problem than players fighting, and that’s the disrespect for flag and country by players that was started by a disgraceful Colin Kaepernick. Instead of fining players for fighting, the NFL should kick out any player who refuses to stand for the national anthem. President Trump would love for people to hear NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell shout: “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!”