Erin Henderson isn’t a multimillionaire. He’d like the NFL not to fine him as if he were.
Henderson, a Vikings linebacker, says that since he’s paid in accordance with his status as a player who entered the league as an undrafted free agent three years ago, he should be fined that way, too.
Henderson picked up a Tim Tebow fumble and ran 35 yards for a touchdown in Thursday night’s preseason game, and after he crossed the goal line he threw the ball into the stands in jubilation. And then, he told Chip Scoggins of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, “I found after that it’s illegal and I’m probably going to get fined.”
Indeed, the NFL typically fines players for tossing the ball into the stands. Henderson would like to put in a request that the NFL not fine him too much.
“I hope they don’t tax me too bad,” Henderson said. “I’m an undrafted free agent. I don’t really have that much money.”
And then Henderson made an interesting suggestion about how the league should structure its fines.
“I’m not on Jared Allen’s paycheck,” Henderson said, naming a teammate who makes more than 10 times as much money as he does. “I think they should start fining by salary.”
Henderson’s idea makes a lot of sense, and it gets to a point we touched on when we noted that Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was fined a relative pittance, $7,500, just a month after signing a contract guaranteeing him $40 million.
A player who makes $500,000 a year and a player who makes $15 million a year aren’t affected in the same way by a $5,000 fine. It would make more sense to fine players, say, 1 percent of their salaries for throwing the ball into the stands than to fine every player the same amount of money even if that amount of money won’t affect them in the same way.
Actually, it would make sense not to fine players at all for throwing the ball into the stands — that’s a harmless celebration that gives a fan a great souvenir. But for serious offenses like the hit that got Suh fined, it would make more sense to base the amount of the fine on the financial impact it would have on the player.
Henderson should give Roger Goodell a call and pass along his idea.