Earlier this week, we wondered whether the reason Andre Johnson and Cortland Finnegan weren't suspended for their on field fist fight last Sunday was because Johnson and the Houston Texans are scheduled to be a part of Thursday night football on NFL Network. After all, given how much of a disciplinarian Roger Goodell has since taking over as commish and the fact that the NFL has already fined these two players for tussling with one another in the past(to no avail) it was surprising to see them getting off with just a fine.
As it turns out, a number of people are wondering this. Tony Kornheiser says he thinks the fact that Texans will be on NFL network is exactly why Johnson got off easy.
"Do you think that part of [the lack of suspension for Johnson] might have to do with the fact that the NFL, which owns the NFL Network, has a game on Thursday night featuring the Houston Texans, whose only draw is basically Andre Johnson? And I'm not going to say, 'I'm not saying, I'm just saying.' I'm gonna say, I think it does.
"This is a commissioner who sits guys out for multiple games for things that happen off the field -- and more power to him. But this made a mockery of the field."
He's not the only one.
Yahoo! Sports agrees that the punishment didn't appear to fit the crime.
Anyway you look at it, a $25,000 fine for an embarrassing incident is hardly the punishment you'd expect from a disciplinarian like Roger Goodell. Two guys brawling in the open field can't be the image Goodell wants to portray. Yet with these light fines, the commissioner has given the tacit acknowledgement that such fights are acceptable, provided you don't launch yourself with the crown of your helmet, I guess.
They also say that the fact that the league has the responsibility to discipline players while also having a cable network which shows games is an obvious conflict of interest.
I suppose the only way we'll know is if two other guys not due to play on NFL Network rip off their helmets and get into a fist-fight this week. Of course, the NFL has now set the precedent you can do that without fear of suspension.