NFL rhymes with What the Hell

The NFL announced that it has fined four players for their roles in the scuffle that closed out last Sunday’s Super Bowl. I suppose I’m fine with that: those players fought with one another in front of over a hundred million people, and gave the league a black eye (if not one another, because punching a guy’s helmet is more adorably futile than anything else, even for an NFL player). So sure, fine them. But not like this:

  • Michael Hoomanawanui (Pats): $8,286
  • Rob Gronkowski (Pats):  $8,286
  • Michael Bennett (Hawks): $8,286
  • Bruce Irvin (Hawks): $10,000

Sure, Bruuuuuce was the guy ejected from the game. But it’s one thing for Irvin to have been ejected — the ref can only throw a flag based on what he saw — and quite another to single him out for punishment even with the benefit of instant replay. And it should have been pretty clear to the league, on review, who started it:

Title of the Vine notwithstanding, you can watch Gronk land the first unnecessary punch and Irvin stand up for his teammate. No, he probably shouldn’t have done that, especially right in front of a referee, but the league also probably shouldn’t make him into more of a villain than anyone else who was involved.

On top of that, Irvin went out of his way to apologize after the game, while Gronk went out of his way to gloat, and there’s no real question in my mind who the NFL should have slapped harder.


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