The NFL has long been a culture that rewards bone-jarring hits. Fans love to see players get crushed and those types of hits are just part of the game, but the league is trying to put a stop to it after the violent hits from last weekend resulted in concussions. Of the three hits, the only one that should have been fined was Brandon Meriweather’s hit on Todd Heap because he launched at him and led with the crown of his helmet. The other two hits were perfectly legal and the players shouldn’t have been fined for it. The league is being very hypocritical of these vicious hits because that is how they make their money and is a big reason as to why they are so successful. If they would like to start cracking down it would only make sense that they alter the rules and not make judgment calls. Until then, the game is going to be played cautiously and it won’t be long before defenders will start tackling and hitting at the knees because Principal Goodell is “out” for the players’ best interest.
Kevin Mawae joined ESPN Radio in LA to talk about how he feels about the NFL wanting players to be more disciplined when it comes to hitting, whether he is upset with the way that the NFL is fining players for making hits that are within the rules, and whether he disagrees with Alex Mack stating that James Harrison is a dirty player.
How he feels about the NFL wanting players to be more disciplined when it comes to hitting:
“Well I think the sarcastic answer would be they’re not going to get their 18% back in the CBA’s. They’re going to try to get it back in the form of fines from the NFL players playing football. The serious answer is this, I cannot, I’ve told our executive committee and our members, that I cannot and will not support the commissioner for fining our players for making hits that are within the legal rules in the NFL game. I understand helmet-to-helmet contact hits. I understand the flagrant launching at a player with the crown of your helmet before a player who is playing in the game acting instinctively, dropping the shoulder and hitting a player coming across the middle or trying to run the ball and it be considered a vicious or violent hit because of some uncharted standard, I cannot and will not and the NFLPA will not support it. There is a way to play the game and that is within the rules of the game. If our players are playing within the rules and for the commissioner and for the NFL to say that they are going to increase fines because of hits seem to be vicious or violent I think it’s ridiculous and I think the skirts need to be taken off in the NFL offices.”
Whether he is upset with the way that the NFL is fining players for making hits that are within the rules:
“The Todd Heap hit is the hit by Meriweather, he launched himself and hit, if I remember the play correctly, he launched and hit Todd Heap in the jaw with the helmet with the crown of his helmet after the play was broken up. That clearly violates the rule of launching yourself and hitting with the crown of your helmet to the helmet of another player. As much as I hate our players having their money taken away from them that is a play that falls within the rules that the competition committee put in the game of the NFL.”
What his reaction is to James Harrison’s hit that knocked out Josh Cribbs:
“My reaction is you have a 250-lb linebacker, who knows how to play football, coming down on a receiver that weighs 185-200 lbs going across the middle and he gets laid out by his quarterback. James Harrison is playing football. He’s being an instinctive player and he is making a play on a player trying to catch the ball going across the middle. There was no helmet to helmet contact it was just a vicious hit and vicious hits happen in the NFL. I disagree with the penalty or any penalty or fine he would have gotten on that hit.”
Whether he disagrees with Alex Mack stating that James Harrison is a dirty player:
“I do disagree with him. There is a difference between playing hard, playing within the game and within the whistle. I am not going to sit here and say that Alex Mack is wrong or right, that is not what this is about. There is a way to play the game and the players are faster and stronger than they have ever been before and they are more instinctive and it happens. A big hit is going to happen in the NFL and for the NFL to levy fines the way they do and turn around and sell them, the big hits in the NFL, is hypocritical. Then to ask the NFL or for them to ask the players to give us to more games at the end of it, with regards to an 18-game season, you cant have the cake, the icing, the birthday party and everything…”