Recently in the National Football League, the referees have been cracking down on illegal hits and anything that seems to have even a whiff of foul play. This has caused thousands of dollars in fines to be dealt to various players. Clearly the rules should be followed and illegal hits should be penalized, but there should be some leeway for the plays that can be argued for either side.
A little leeway could potentially affect the quality of play for the athletes and viewing quality for fans. For most, football is supposed to be a hard-nosed , tough sport where people lay themselves on the line for the sake of the game . This recent influx in penalties is slowly but surely gravitating the game away from that.
When a player has to worry about whether or not they’re going to get penalized and fined for certain hits, it can cause them to change their style of play entirely. This just is not good for the game as a whole , with players not playing to their full potential. It partially takes away the “all or nothing” state of mind that defensive players tend to have.
Many players in the NFL are frustrated this season. Poor James Harrison has somehow racked up $125,000 in fines–in a single season. It must be frustrating being penalized so frequently. Maybe for a player making league minimum “$375,000 which in no joke of a salary” would have to worry, but for a star player who won defensive player of the year two years prior I would assume really isn’t worried about the money aspect, but more so the suspensions that he faced. But think about this: $125,000 is just more money than a good portion of the United States makes in an entire year.
Yes, some hits definitely deserve to be punished, but there is a large grey area where it really could go either way depend who you ask. Ask any player and ask them how hard it is to change their style of play after many years of playing. Yes, no player should lead with his helmet or make other foolish decisions like that because than puts both sides in danger. But not all helmet-to-helmet contact is purposeful. Again, a little leeway will prevent the majority of those hits being unnecessary fines.