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If you do not want to get a fine, then do not play hard

October 22, 2010

After a weekend of “devastating hits”, effective this weekend  players face suspension for these “devastating hits” and “head shots,” according to Ray Anderson, the league’s executive vice president of football operations.

“We can’t and won’t tolerate what we saw Sunday,” Anderson said Monday. “We’ve got to get the message to players that these devastating hits and head shots will be met with a very necessary higher standard of accountability. We have to dispel the notion that you get one free pass in these egregious or flagrant shots.”

Two of these hits were made by James Harrison, the 2008 defensive player of the year. He was fined $75,000. Harrison took this as more than just a fine and has been contemplating retiring.

“You’re telling me that everything that they’ve taught me … for the last 20-plus years is not the way you’re supposed to play the game anymore. If that’s the case I can’t play by those rules,” said Harrison.

Having played football growing up and in high school, I completely understand where Harrison is coming from. You are taught, regardless of size, whether it is a 160 pound wide receiver or a 240 pound running back to aim for the guy behind him and drive through the guy as hard as you can.

I also know that football is all about going 100 percent, because if you don’t you are the one who is going to get hurt. So when the NFL tells players to slow down and hold back a little, then the defensive player is risking both injuring and possibly not making the tackle.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am all for safety and I think the league is right when they ban helmet to helmet hits, however now they are taking away helmet to high chest and neck area hits. This will in return cause more defensive players to now hit lower, in the knee area to make tackles to not risk penalties and fines, resulting in more neck injuries to defensive players getting neck, and spine injuries and offensive players getting more knee injuries. You’re just trading injury for injury.

All of this is capped off by now adding even more responsibilities to referees, who already have enough self-interpreted calls to make.  So now players will constantly have to be worrying about whether or not to go for a big hit because a referee might see a clean hit as a “devastating” hit.

All footballs players, especially NFL players know the risks that come with playing the game. It is violent sport where big hits are glorified. In fact, go on NFL.com, type in big hits in the search box and you’ll find 13,665 videos of such “devastating hits.” Sound hypocritical to anyone else?

BY JACK DONNELLY
Co-Sports Editor

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