PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – More NFL players are taking the side of Troy Polamalu and believe the players should have a voice in handing out fines and suspensions for illegal hits to the head.
With players like James Harrison being fined $75,000 for illegal hits, the players are upset with the amount of the fines.
Currently, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL Operations Chief Ray Anderson, Officiating Director Carl Johnson and other league officials determine what constitutes illegal hits. They are also the ones who decide the terms of the punishment.
A team’s player rep said, “You’ve got to make sure that these things are fair, that they’re measurable, that you can judge them, that it’s not just one person’s opinion.”
Goodell and the NFL are opposed to having player input on illegal hits and punishments.
While in Cincinnati, Goodell said, “There are league executives involved and there are former players involved, I think having active players and active front office executives is something the competition committee has always frowned on.”
Goodell also reiterated that he is not part of the fines process. He also noted that appeals are heard by Art Shell, a Hall of Fame player with the Oakland Raiders, and Ted Cottrell, a former NFL coach. Both Shell and Cottrell are paid jointly by the NFL and NFLPA.
Meanwhile, the on-field fight over illegal hits and players’ safety will make its way off field and into the NFL CBA process.
Buffalo Bills’ safety George Wilson sees all of these issues intertwined and said: “I think going into this new CBA, it’s imperative for the union to feel like they have a voice in the disciplinary process, at least have a voice at the table. I know that can come in a lot of capacities and aspects, but guys just want to feel like their voices are heard.”