The minute I read the alert, I knew instantly that those who follow the Dallas Cowboys closely would have similar feelings on the topic. Getting Cowboys fans to agree on anything these days is tough yet this seemingly small blip on the radar is really confusing.
If you have not heard, Cowboys defensive tackle and the team’s 2019 top overall draft pick Trysten Hill has been suspended two games by the league for punching Las Vegas Raiders lineman John Simpson during the postgame handshakes.
If we are being honest, it was more of an open-handed slap. That slap leaves the Cowboys thin on the defensive line. The memo Hill received accused him of violating Rule 12, Section 2, Article 14(c) which prohibits striking or swinging at someone from the head up. He was also in violation of Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1 which is basically a general sportsmanship rule.
For the record, I do not condone what Hill did and the professionalism he failed to display on Thanksgiving should have consequences but this suspension is ridiculous.
The NFL needs to be more transparent when it comes to penalties and suspensions
The NFL prides itself on optics which is why they try and throw the book at anyone who fails to protect the so-called “shield”. That is more than likely why Ezekiel Elliott was given a six-game suspension even though the justice system did not pursue his case.
According to the people at Sportrac.com, there have been 125 infractions in the NFL with fines almost hitting $6.5 million. The Denver Broncos have been fined the most in the entire league followed closely by the New Orleans Saints. Your Cowboys rank third on this list.
Those teams leading the league in money fined have a bit of misdirection on the surface. Both of those teams had players that were suspended multiple games for Performance Enhancing Drugs or PEDs. Of the $1,630,537 million the Broncos have been fined, $1,591,912 of that was cornerback A.J Bouye’s PED infraction alone.
New Orleans is in the same situation where most of their fine was against a player caught doing PEDs also. The Raiders, Giants, Rams, Broncos, Saints, and Forty-Niners are all in the top seven along with the Cowboys but if you take out the Cowboys from the list, no team in the top seven has more than five fined infractions.
The Cowboys have a whopping 11 infractions or more than double any other team in the league. There are 32 teams in the league yet the Cowboys count for 11.36% of all fines throughout the NFL.
If the NFL is worried about optics, it doesn’t help that the person who is in charge of determining fines is none other than former Philadelphia Eagles lineman Jon Runyan. Runyan is the Vice President of Policy and Rules Administration.
When he was appointed for his new role, Troy Vincent, who is the Vice President of Football Operations, welcomed Runyan to his new position. For those of you who don’t remember, Troy Vincent made the Pro Bowl five times with one All-Pro selection. Vincent did play for multiple teams but all of those achievements mentioned above only came when he played for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Ok, maybe I am using facts to support my conclusion but the data should at least make you raise your eyebrow. The Philadelphia Eagles have been fined (wait a second for dramatic effect ) twice this season.
As much as I follow this team, I didn’t even realize that Hill had “thrown a punch” until the day after Thanksgiving. So let me get this straight, Giants wideout Kadarius Toney throwing a punch on live television is only a $12,875 thousand dollar fine yet Hill deserves a two-game suspension for the exact same thing?
Out of the eight instances ‘fighting” has been the reason for being fined, (even though there have been many more punches allowed to let stand) Hill is the only player to be suspended while Toney’s punch generated the largest fine.
Toney was fined and ejected for punching Cowboys safety Damontae Kazee. Kazee was apparently fined $6,264 for being punched by Toney. If you look at the video, Kazee was pushed by a Giants player and he pushed back.
Kazee was either fined for being punched or fined for retaliating which is something almost every player does when in an on-field altercation. Either way, the NFL is wrong. Hill being suspended means he will also forego paychecks for two weeks. That means his suspension will cost him about $128,912 thousand which is just more than ten times the amount Toney got fined.
The NFL added in an additional violation in the memo sent to Hill talking about understood sportsmanship. Are we to believe that the other “punches ” thrown in the NFL were sportsmanlike?
I get that Hill is an odd fellow. I rarely hear teammates talk about him and his interviews for the team are even more scarce but that is no reason to throw him to the sacrificial wolves. The NFL created free agency in part to bring parity to the football field. I sure would wish they would apply those same principles when going over player conduct. Transparency is key NFL.