BAD CALL: Goodell’s NFL Fails Yet Again With Odell Beckham Jr. Suspension
The NFL announced on Monday that Odell Beckham Jr. will be suspended for one game in connection to his physical altercations with Panthers cornerback Josh Norman on the field on Sunday.
The suspension was imposed by NFL Vice President of Football Operations Merton Hanks, who in a letter to Beckham noted the reasons for the disciplinary action.
“At numerous times during yesterday’s game against the Carolina Panthers, your actions placed a fellow player at unnecessary risk…and clearly did not represent the high standards of sportsmanship expected," wrote Hanks.
After everyone had watched the footage over and over of Beckham Jr. running across the field to spear Norman in a helmet-to-helmet hit that should have had him ejected from the game, it was obvious that a suspension would be iminent. When even the most ardent, insane and delusional Giants fans on the internet can agree that Odell Beckham Jr. should be suspended, you know that it's pretty clear cut.
Reactions from fans and media regarding Beckham's actions range from "he definitely lost his cool and should be punished, but it wasn't outrageous" to "the Giants should be docked a draft pick." As usual, it remains somewhere in the middle, which is why you would figure the NFL would be grateful to have recent precedent to fall back on in a situation like this.
Unfortunately they failed yet again to follow their own previously established order of law. Rather than issue a more stringent punishment that would have kept Beckham Jr. out for the rest of the regular season, he was suspended for just one game. This leaves some wondering what exactly it would have taken for Beckham to earn a two-game suspension.
Let's take a look.
In Week 12, of the 2011 season, Ndamukong Suh was ejected and suspended for two games after forcing the helmet of Green Bay offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith into the ground and then forcibly stomping on his arm.
The league was concerned that Suh's unnecessary aggression on the field was becoming a pattern. At the time he led the league in personal fouls since 2010 - with nine.
Well on Sunday, Beckham Jr. was called for unnecessary roughness three times. In one game.
Most wide receivers in the league haven't been called for unnecesary roughness all season; and if they have been, it's been once. If you were watching the game, you became aware very early on that he had gone rogue. It seemed like every interaction he had with Norman ended up in an altercation that was instigated by Beckham Jr.; most of which were definitely outside the scope of normal football physicality.
His most egregious offense though was that hit for which he was suspended; a hit that was so premeditated that it makes Suh's violent stomp look reasonable in comparison.
The helmet-to-helmet hit is almost always the result of an attempt to tackle a player directly involved with the play; aka a player with the ball or a player guarding or blocking for the player with the ball. Even then, when they happen in the course of actually trying to play football, those kind of hits are treated with the severity that they deserve.
But when you add premeditation, and a lack of any attempt to be involved in the play at hand, it absolutely deserves harsher punishment. Odell Beckham Jr. had one goal and one goal only with that hit and it definitely had nothing to do with helping the New York Giants win a football game.
The NFL will rarely get handed such a clear cut case of premeditated head hunting. Usually there is some level of gray area, but this is the one rare instance in which the intention is so clear that it cannot be denied by any rational person. Still, rather than rise to the occasion after being handed the perfect incident with which to uphold the precedent for harsh punishment on purposeful helmet-to-helmet hits, they shrunk from the moment.
Apparently the only time Roger Goodell's NFL takes the hard road is when the health of his players' brains isn't at risk.
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