Lorton: Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Fines (Nov. 1)
Isaac Lorton | Thursday, October 31, 2013
Wide receivers and defensive backs in the NFL are known for their back and forth comments, trying to one up the other guy, but how far is too far?
Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather responded to Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall with some pointed comments on Monday, after Marshall said Meriweather should be suspended or kicked out of the league. Marshall received one of Meriwether’s two illegal hits to the head during the Redskins and Bears game on Sunday, Oct. 20.
Meriweather was fined $15,000 and suspended for two games. After an appeal, it was bumped down to one. That should be the end of it, but Marshall, along with Bears tight end Martellus Bennett, came out to say that he should be suspended for a longer period of time or even kicked out of the NFL. Trying to get the last word is fun, but when does it stop?
“He feels like I need to be kicked out of the league?” Meriweather said. “I feel like people who beat their girlfriends should be kicked out of the league too. You tell me who you’d rather have: someone who plays aggressive on the field or someone who beat up their girlfriend?”
He brings up a valid point.
Maybe a bit too personal, but true. Meriweather was referencing Marshall’s multiple domestic violence arrests. All charges were eventually dropped, but these disputes with his girlfriend have even gone so far as Marshall ending up in the hospital with stab wounds. If you are going to call other people out for their aggressiveness on the field, at least be ready for the backlash.
These words came from someone who probably feels a bit trapped in his current situation.
There typically is a line that people should not and do not cross, but these comments may have been caused by the pressure defensive backs feel in the ever-dictating NFL. Every time a big hit is laid on a receiver the sidelines and fans go nuts, screaming for a penalty and emphatically waving their hands like a magical yellow flag will appear if they flap around frantically. It’s ridiculous. And now that the NFL is piling on fines and suspensions, what is a hard-hitting safety to do?
Meriwetaher also spoke out about all of the “player safety” concerns from the NFL front office and the NFL Players Association about head injuries.
“I guess I just got to take people’s knees out,” Meriweather said. “That’s the only way. I would hate to end a guy’s career over a rule, but I guess it’s better other people than me getting suspended for longer. You just have to go low now, man. You’ve got to end people’s careers. You got to tear people’s ACLs and mess up people’s knees. You can’t hit them high anymore.”
What people (or maybe just us journalists in need of a little drama) don’t get was that Meriweather was being sarcastic. Yes he does have a history of headhunting on the field, and yes he would most likely be the first player to actually target people’s knees, but he is frustrated with an impossible situation placed on him and other defensive backs in the NFL.
He is just being honest.
But the NFLPA and NFL did not see the comments that way. DeMaurice Smith, the Players Association’s executive director spoke with Meriweather about his comments and Merton Hanks, NFL’s vice president of football operations also talked to Meriweather. Not about the comments made about Marshall and his personal life, but about the targeting ACL’s. They won’t punish Meriweather but they will keep a close eye on him, because player safety is the top concern for the NFL.
So on Thursday, Meriweather apologized. For being a bit too honest.
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The views expressed in this Sports Authority are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.