The way the NFL is enforcing player safety rules is pure bush league.
During the NFC Divisional round game against the New Orleans Saints, Seahawks receiver Percy Harvin was the victim of a hit on a defenseless receiver. It was a hit and run attack. A drive by bounty. A brutal head shot that gave him a concussion and forced him to miss the NFC Championship.
The offending party was Saints safety Rafael Bush, who was fined $21,000 for the cheap shot. Here’s what he did one more time – in agonizing slow motion:
That’s a helmet to helmit hit on a defenseless receiver; from every angle, in slow motion, in fast motion, in still shots, and in retrospect for all time.
In recent years the NFL has supposedly been doing everything it can to protect players from this kind of play, and yet they’re sending mixed messages. According to a report by Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk, the league has granted Bush his appeal and rescinded its fine. Bush took to Twitter to crow about the news:
I just realized it took me 3 months to appeal my last fine yep can I have my 21 back now thank you
— rafael bush (@rbush36) April 10, 2014
Gantt’s report did not include any justification from league officials as to why they changed their minds. I’m at a loss. A complete and total lack of comprehension. This decision is not only negligent, but indicative of an idiotic double standard in the NFL when it comes to player safety. Look at the play again. Do you honestly think that if a quarterback like Tom Brady or Russell Wilson took a hit like that they would have rescinded the fine?
No, and again I say, hell no.
Not only would Bush have lost his appeal, he probably would have been suspended a couple of games at the outset of the 2014 season to boot. And it’s not like this is just some random-ass receiver who nobody has heard of before. This is Percy Harvin, quite possibly the most electrifying player the NFL has seen in a generation. Isn’t the whole point about the extra rules for quarterbacks to protect the league’s most valuable assets? Harvin is under contract for over $60 million and could be a most valuable player candidate if he can just stay on the field for a full season.
Well it’s going to be a lot harder for that to happen as long as the NFL makes bonehead-ass decisions like this one. What kind of message does that send to players like Ndamukong Suh, who seem to revel in every chance they get to mangle another player?
To me the message is pretty clear. By letting Bush off the hook the league is saying that if you’re a quarterback you’re fine, if you’re anybody else, you’re figged.