December 19, 2010
A New York Jets coach isn't the only one throwing up human obstacles on the sideline during punt coverage. FOX Sports' Jay Glazer reported on Sunday that the NFL was "quietly investigating" another incident last week involving Tyler Brayton(notes) of the Carolina Panthers, in which the defensive end ran off the bench to elbow an Atlanta Falcons player in the head after he was blocked out of bounds during a punt return.
The fine was issued on Friday but was not made public.
It wasn't made public? Are the league offices turning into the Nixon White House? If there was ever any doubt that the league is more interested in the perception of caring about player safety rather than the practice of it, this is it. The NFL made a big to-do about Sal Alosi and issued him a harsh punishment befitting that outrage. Brayton does something that's much worse and much more dirty (he ran over to play and threw an elbow) and the league tries a Friday news dump and issues a nominal fine?
Brayton was forced to pay $15,000 from his $2.2 million salary, while Alosi earned a suspension for the rest of the season and a $25,000 fine. And he makes a normal salary as a strength and conditioning coach, not the millions Brayton does. That's pure and utter hypocrisy. (Throw in the fact that Brayton has a past history of dirty play and it's even worse. In 2006 he was fined $25,000 for kneeing another player in the groin.)
[Related: Jets coach pays price for tripping player]
If both Alosi and Brayton did the same thing on the same day, logic dictates that they're far from the only team members to engage in these sorts of practices. The NFL has issued warnings to teams about forming walls on the sideline and that seemed like the respectable thing to do. Trying to cover up another incident re-raises the red flag though.
There's a problem with NFL punt returns and the league needs to act more strongly than issuing another memo. Something is happening here and I don't know what it is. Do you, Mr. Goodell?
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