The Pittsburgh Steelers safety suggested the league should have a panel to determine fines and suspensions for hits, one which could consist of management, front office members and players. He also ripped the league for trying to take the controlled violence out of football. From AP:
"[Goodell has] all the power, and that may be part of the problem. There needs to be some type of separation of power, like our government," Polamalu said. "I don't think it should be based totally on what two or three people may say that are totally away from the game. It should be some of the players that are currently playing. [...]
"There is definitely a paranoia that is unneeded. Just because we had a few weekends ago, I think somebody said, five [illegal] hits out of 1,000. Yeah, I think there is too much paranoia. [...]
"If people want to watch soccer, they can watch soccer. The people who are attracted to this game, they're going to see the big hits, they don't care about touchdowns," Polamalu said. "So you're also taking apart what attracts people to this game. [...]
"I don't think there's any confusion [about the new rule]. I just think the problem is they're wrong."
Polamalu hasn't been shy in the past about lamenting rule changes which he feels change the complexion of football. In 2008 he said new rules about tackling the quarterback were turning the NFL into a "pansy game."
He may be fighting a losing battle when it comes to the league's emphasis on hits (the NFL doesn't tend to change its mind in situations like this), but Polamalu might be able to get some traction with the proposed panel. While it's unlikely that the a player would ever have a say in determining another player's suspension, opening up the process to more transparency would likely alleviate some of the players' concerns about how fines and suspensions are determined.
[Related: Players confused by crackdown on hard hits]
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- Roger Goodell