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October 21, 2010 - Seth Staskey
Much has been made this week about the NFL's quest to crack down on violent helmet-to-helmet hits. I've been wrestling with this all week. When I saw the hits live Sunday to Cleveland Browns' players Mohamed Massaquoi and Josh Cribbs, I immediately thought a penalty should have been called. I never thought a suspension was in order, but levying a fine would be acceptable.
When you think about it from the standpoint of the defensive players, you're between a rock and a hardplace. That's the way those guys play. Let's be honest, professional football is extremely violent and players get hurt. It's amazing how these athletes can throw their bodies around for 3 hours of real time and still climb out of bed the next morning and go back to begin preparing to do it again. The defensive players have to be allowed to play physical and do their job. However, there's a fine line for head injuries. Every level of football -- junior high through professional -- has stringent concussion rules in place and rightfully so. NFL players shouldn't go on the record, I.E. James Harrison, and say they're trying to hurt people. That's not the point of the game, but it's part of the game.
A lesson needs to be taught and a message needs to be sent, but I am not sure a suspension is the way to go about it especially when guys are doing their job. If it can be deemed that there was intent to harm, then that's another issue that should be looked into by Roger Goodell and the NFL. As for James Harrison threatening retirement, oh well. You're only hurting yourself and more specifically your bank account because whether or not you're playing, there will still be 70-thousand at NFL stadiums and people will still be watching at home. James, just pay the fine, suck it up and get back with your teammates and focus on playing football.
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