For the most part, that's an overstatement, but in the case of Myron Pryor getting fined for hitting Brett Favre, it's completely accurate.
The second-year player out of Kentucky was fined $7,500 on Friday, as reported by ESPN, for his hit that knocked Favre out of Sunday's game in New England. The fine may not seem like a heavy cost, but it is about one-third of a game check for Pryor, who makes $395,000.
But forget about the amount — the fact that Pryor's fined anything is a joke.
Pryor rushed the passer on third-and-goal from the 3-yard line. As Favre released the pass, Pryor drove his helmet into the quarterback's chest. Favre's pass was incomplete, and Pryor wasn't flagged on the play (Jonathan Wilhite, however, was penalized for illegal contact in the end zone).
Favre lay on the ground for a bit while teammates Steve Hutchinson (who let Pryor get past him on the play) and Adrian Peterson tried to help him to his feet. The quarterback went back to the turf, required assistance from trainers to get off the field and then hopped aboard a cart for a free ride to the locker room.
Many assumed he had suffered a concussion, or maybe a dislocated jaw, but the ol' gunslinger had only sustained a cut to his chin.
Yet, fines aren't dished out on the basis of how bad a player is injured (at least, ideally that's the case). They are administered for illegal hits. Pryor's hit wasn't illegal.
As the world watched every slow-motion, HD replay, it was clear that Pryor did not initiate any helmet-to-helmet contact. He hit Favre in the chest, and his helmet slid up into Favre's chin — a chin that was barely protected by an old-fashioned, Riddell leather strap, which essentially offers zero protection.
Had Favre been wearing a chinstrap that was produced after 1987 (they're going for about $10 online), he probably wouldn't have been a bloody mess on the field, and Pryor wouldn't have been getting any mail from the league office.
Really, this isn't about Pryor losing $7,500, and it's not about Favre needing stitches. It's about the league trying to police players from playing football. The league has already told defensive players that they can't touch quarterbacks below the waist (or in the case of Terrell Suggs, you can't even try to hit a quarterback below his waist).
Now, the league wants players to hit the quarterback, but they're going to have to slow down, or alter their body position, or something to prevent themselves from hitting quarterbacks in certain ways.
Which ways can't they hit the quarterback? Well, they can't know that until they get fined.
Makes a whole lot of sense.
Is the NFL going over the top with fines? Share your thoughts below.
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