A.J. Hawk was fined $10,000 for raising his middle finger toward his sideline during Sunday's Green Bay Packers game against the St. Louis Rams.
Only $10,000? Between that paltry sum and the lack of fine for the War of the Jims, I'd say ol' Rog is losing his touch. Used to be that Goodell was a fining machine. Five thousand if you looked at him the wrong way, $10,000 if your shoe wasn't tied with double knots. I figured that was the way he relaxed. Whereas you and I crack a cold one, sit back and fire up "Project Runway" "Breaking Bad" on the DVR, Goodell pored through game reports looking for various infractions to sanction.
Or at least that's the picture that was in my head. The 2011 schedule of fines has made the process too transparent and all the mystery is gone. We prefer frivolity in our fines, not adhering to a list. Hawk's fine fit in the "unsportsmanlike conduct, first offense" category and he was assessed the standard $10,000. But shouldn't it matter that he did it on camera and toward his sideline and looks like a ruffian? Oh, it should but that list -- that list. Most conceivable offenses are covered on it and since it looks so official, some of the absurdity about which infractions are considered more severe get glossed over.
Here's a list of seven fineable offenses. Which ones do you draw bigger fines than Hawk's finger and which draw less?
1. Kneeing an opponent in the head.
2. Writing personal message on uniform.
3. Cursing directly at fans.
4. Entering a fight and becoming actively involved.
5. Cutting the knees of a defender on a running play.
6. Hitting a player after he reaches the end zone.
7. Placing stickum on your gloves.
8. Chasing after another coach with crazy eyes.
Answers: All of these draw lesser (or equal) fines than a bird-flipping.
Hawk said you won't be seeing his middle finger again. "There was no anger or malice or anything towards it," he told reporters. "It was a joke, and I kind of got caught up in the emotions of the game. [...] I definitely won't do it again."