The Steelers continue their short-sighted assault on the NFL’s attempt to deal with the potential problems of concussions and other avoidable player injuries.
The latest? Receiver Hines Ward, who accused the league of hypocrisy in a nonsensical rant about the league’s current stance on fining players like teammate James Harrison for hitting certain players in defenseless postures with his helmet and/or in the helmet.
“Say one thing, and do another,” Ward said, per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Talk about safety, but you add two games. Talk about you don’t want players to drink, but our major endorsement is Coors Light. That’s all you see is beer commercials.”
Of course, those beer commercials give a lot of money to the networks, who give a lot of money to the league, which gives a lot of money to the players.
Besides, when did the NFL ever say they don’t want players to drink? The NFL doesn’t want players to drink to excess and then drive a car, especially when the players have available to them at any time the means for getting a free, no-questions-asked ride home.
In the clip appearing below, Ward laments the rules regarding the quarterback strike zone. “Can’t hit him in the helmet, can’t him in the knees. Where can you hit a quarterback?” Ward said, not realizing that he’d answered his own question by identifying the top and the bottom of the quarterback strike zone.
Ward also echoed teammate Troy Polamalu’s recent criticism of the process for appealing fines, which was based on the flawed assumption that the league office resolves the appeals. Ward claims that he’s never seen a successful appeal, even though Jets linebacker Bart Scott recently won an appeal of $30,000 in fines for not fastening his chinstrap. Chiefs defensive end Shaun Smith likewise won an appeal of a $10,000 fine for grabbing an opponent’s crotch.
The problem continues to be, in our view, an outright refusal by the Steelers organization to set aside its short-sighted, results-driven focus on winning games now in favor of a broader view regarding the issues that could undermine the overall success of the league in the future. Though it doesn’t help matters when guys like Raiders defensive end Richard Seymour are fined only $25,000 for decking Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger after the whistle, this franchise desperately needs some four-letter words of wisdom from Dan Rooney regarding the potential harm that men like Ward and Harrison and Polamlu and coach Mike Tomlin and even team president Art Rooney are doing to the long-term interests of the game by offering up illogical, incorrect, and/or selfishly-motivated sound bites in lieu of simply adjusting to the rules.
On that last point, we’ll have more on how the league office could put an end to the clattering chatter from Pittsburgh later this morning.