The NFL preaches player safety, and some of the things the league does to protect players makes sense.
Then they do something like fine Brandon Marshall $15,000 for wearing orange shoes, almost as much as two fines for dangerous acts against fellow players combined, and you wonder if the league realizes how bad that looks.
Marshall got his fine for wearing orange cleats last week against Dallas. These large fines don't happen overnight; players are warned many times before they get the large penalty. So Marshall knew what he was doing when he broke the NFL's uniform policy.
But it's still a terrible message to send when the penalty for stomping on another player's hand or hitting an opponent in the groin is just half as severe.
Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett stepped on Rams lineman Chris Williams' hand after Williams pushed him. It's hard to buy that it wasn't intentional. Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was suspended two games for a similar incident against the Packers in 2011. Dockett was fined $7,875. That's it. Suh's history of dirty play led to his large punishment, but Dockett did something similar and got off with a slap on the wrist. He was even able to laugh about it this week.
I was not stepN on no hands I was just tap dancing out of anger!!
— DARNELL DOCKETT (@ddockett) December 14, 2013
Steelers center Cody Wallace got off pretty easy too. After Dolphins defensive tackle Randy Starks recovered a fumble, Wallace dug his fist into Starks' groin. Starks wasn't happy and said he'd be checking to see if the NFL fined Wallace. The league did. The same $7,875 that they fined Dockett.
So that's $15,750 for a hand stomp and a crotch punch, and $15,000 for off-colored shoes. Makes sense.
The NFL says it cares about player safety. We can tell by its actions that the league really, really cares about players wearing the proper uniform.
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