The NFL's weak response

Instead of creating clear, in-game disincentives for player violence, the NFL has created nebulous new penalties.

Keith Srakocic / AP
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison (92) hits Cleveland Browns wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi (11) on an attempted pass in the second quarter of the Oct. 17 NFL game in Pittsburgh. Massaquoi left the game with a head injury. On Tuesday, Harrison was fined $75,000 for the hit.

The NFL announced today new rules to protect players in games from concussions. Calling them new rules is an overstatement. All the league really did is announce that penalties would be tougher. That's it. Ther response to a serious issue with brian damage and concussions is lamer than I thought possible.

NEW YORK (AP) -- The NFL imposed huge fines Tuesday on three players for dangerous and flagrant hits last weekend and warned that, starting with this week's games, violent conduct will be cause for suspension. (from SI)

That's all? "... will be cause for suspension."? It reminds me of how Robin Williams made fun of British police without guns: "Stop! Or I'll say stop again."

This new rule essentially creates a month or so of chatter by football analysts on TV and radio but it does NOTHING but create uncertainty for players. If the NFL wants to protect players, it needs to change incentives with certainty. Adopt the all-fault insurance rule: when one player gets injured, two players leave the game (the injuree and injurer), regardless of intent.

Add/view comments on this post.


The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best economy-related bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link above.

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.