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NFL reduces big fines to Harrison, Robinson, and Meriweather

Dunta Robinson, DeSean Jackson AP

It seems like years ago when a trio of nasty helmet-to-helmet hits by Steelers linebacker James Harrison, Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson, and Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather sparked a league-wide debate about player safety.

Well, it was more than two months ago.  And with some time to think about it, the NFL has decided to reduce the hefty fines given out to all three players.

Judy Battista of the New York Times reports that Robinson’s fine was reduced from $50,000 to $25,000, Meriweather from $50,000 to $40,000, and Harrison from $75,000 to $50,000.    Battista writes that Robinson and Meriweather appealed the fines.

Ted Cottrell, who overseas the fines, looked back at Harrison’s case and reduced the fine with Commissioner Roger Goodell’s blessing.

The reductions by the league constitutes an admission that the amount of the fines were out of whack compared to similar cases which received less media attention.

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50 Responses to “NFL reduces big fines to Harrison, Robinson, and Meriweather”
  1. melikefootball says: Dec 30, 2010 6:24 PM

    This league office and God-del has to make up for the Farve fieasico. This goes along with what the fans and players have said since week six…what is going on?? God-del and his cronies just answered that….we don’t know!

  2. laxer37 says: Dec 30, 2010 6:25 PM

    So Harrison’s original appeal was declined, but two months later it was accepted?

    Better late than never I guess for two hits that did not draw a flag..

  3. monkeesfan says: Dec 30, 2010 6:31 PM

    Hopefully they are also an indication the Goodell-era league is beginning to figure out that the law of the jungle rules the NFL and that can never be legislated out of the game. The fact Meriweather’s hit turned the game around for the Patriots – the Ravens played scared after that and it was reflected in their inability to convert third downs – should have also entered the league’s thinking.

    The reality is this is what real football is about – I’m absolutely in favor of high scoring, but I’m also in favor of allowing defense to actually stop someone, especially these tissue-soft (Jimmy Johnson’s famous description) Bill Polian offenses that the league seems to want to dominate.

  4. igottz5onit says: Dec 30, 2010 6:33 PM

    I am convinced the league office has no idea what it is doing anymore.

  5. bigbear12 says: Dec 30, 2010 6:40 PM

    Meriweather still got slapped the hardest in relation to pay, his should have been cut in half if he hasn’t been fined since then(don’t remember if he has).
    Robinson hit DeSean, the fine should have been dismissed.
    Harrison is a repeat offender and shouldn’t have had his dropped any, it was an absurd amount but the league made him an example.

  6. righthereisay says: Dec 30, 2010 6:42 PM

    Please, just reduce Harrison’s $50K more and everything will be OK.

  7. aaronrodgerschokes says: Dec 30, 2010 6:45 PM

    Soft.

  8. fancyleague says: Dec 30, 2010 6:48 PM

    Next thing you know, Goodell will reduce Roethlisberger’s suspension for doing….. well….. nothing? to two games.

  9. Deb says: Dec 30, 2010 7:05 PM

    igottz5onit says:

    I am convinced the league office has no idea what it is doing anymore.

    ————————————————–
    Seconded.

    But since I argued this should have been a $50,000 fine from the get-go, at least they’ve inadvertently done the right thing.

  10. bspurloc says: Dec 30, 2010 7:21 PM

    .
    sterger pics please!

    I guess they missed the line backer trying to avoid hitting Vick just after he got sacked, diving over him and accidentally kicking him in the head.
    I mean whats worse than a hand brushing peytons helmet drawing a flag than a foot kicking vick while hes already down.

  11. hobartbaker says: Dec 30, 2010 7:46 PM

    “A happy Christmas to you Mr. Goodell! I can walk again! God Bless us, everyone!”

  12. pastabelly says: Dec 30, 2010 8:02 PM

    Merriweather caught two major breaks. How does a guy who gets benched by his coach get into the Pro Bowl?

  13. bennybob says: Dec 30, 2010 8:07 PM

    Meriweather’s hit was the most blatant cheap shot I’ve seen all season. It shouldn’t have been reduced at all.
    Robinson’s fine should have reduced to zero.

  14. belicheckyoself says: Dec 30, 2010 8:10 PM

    Deb for commish.

  15. sintaxair says: Dec 30, 2010 8:19 PM

    For as much as I disliked Gene Upshaw, things sure seem a whole lot worse now.

  16. FinFan68 says: Dec 30, 2010 8:22 PM

    After reducing these fines, the NFL immediately fined itself for publicizing the mistakes…apology letters for the teams involved to follow

  17. importantpftcomment says: Dec 30, 2010 8:25 PM

    Now if they would just do the smart thing and eliminate Favre’s fine all might be ok in the football world!

  18. SteelTown6 says: Dec 30, 2010 8:27 PM

    Goodell’s just admitting he screwed up. The guy’s becoming a total joke.

    Fines for legal hits (that should never have been fined at all) when flags weren’t even thrown by the refs?
    Clamoring about player safety while profiting from selling “official” photos and videos of vicious hits, then wanting to add two more games per year?
    Rampant “no calls” all season on plays that -should- have resulted in fines and/or ejections or suspensions?
    Allowing Favre to skate while hanging Roethlisberger out to dry for, according to law enforcement, doing nothing?
    Postponing games because it might snow?

    Goodell needs to go. And now.

  19. hobartbaker says: Dec 30, 2010 8:44 PM

    Then the Ghost took Goodell into the future. There was no sign of James Harrison III, just his little crutch lying on the ground, with his family weeping over it.

  20. tiffpats4eva says: Dec 30, 2010 8:49 PM

    Goodell is criminally overpaid.

  21. palinforpresidentofnorthkorea says: Dec 30, 2010 9:08 PM

    What a relief!

    Harrison’s children can go to college!

  22. johntonioholmes says: Dec 30, 2010 9:16 PM

    Harrison’s was still $50K?

    Sherrod Martin of the Panthers was fined $40K for his second helmet to helmet hit.

    Why am I not surprised that his was $10,000 less for the same offense?

    These fines were only reduced because the league had to fine the Jets only $100k for cheating.

    God forbid that Goodell cracks down hard on anyone not named James Harrison.

    Tackling too hard is only half as bad as the most unsportsmanlike maneuver in the game.

  23. gergie1957 says: Dec 30, 2010 9:18 PM

    As reported on PFT, they are going to use this fine money to buy the Offensive players skirts, This was reported by jack Lambert.

  24. Jack Burton says: Dec 30, 2010 9:27 PM

    Yeah this really proves they’re doing this the right way. If there’s not a lockout it’ll be a miracle.

  25. realitypolice says: Dec 30, 2010 9:35 PM

    Awesome.

    The league gives out fines that people think are too high, everyone screams that they don’t know what they are doing.

    The league reconsiders and lowers the fines, everyone screams that they don’t know what they are doing.

    And you wonder why they don’t seem to care what you think.

    Too bad the league doesn’t know what it’s doing. Think of how popular and successful they could be if they did.

    *eyes rolling*

  26. pigbladder says: Dec 30, 2010 9:35 PM

    merriweather deserved his initial fine, launching himself, and he had time to adjust.

    harrison didn’t deserve any fine, his hits were legit and bang bang.

    robinson didn’t deserve a penalty either, that is what db’s are coached to do, seperate the ball from the receiver, and he did that.

  27. ncoolong says: Dec 30, 2010 9:40 PM

    Wow…have we ever seen a league as poorly managed and as inept as the current management team in place? Unfortunately, the larger message this site is sending troubles me far more.

    No one could possibly argue (not even you, Mike, a guy who’s siding with the league over everything, including and especially throwing Philadelphia under the bus for the blizzard decision. Don’t think we didn’t notice the fact you and Peter King wrote the exact same story after being in the same room with each other) the Brett Favre ruling doesn’t completely and totally prove why they’re even doing this in the first place.

    If this site isn’t now an extension of the front office, I don’t know what is. If you disagree, why is Rosenthal writing this?

    Explain that, Mike. Oh wait, you won’t. Nevermind. I’m sorry for suggesting YOU’D dare go against the shield. All this ruling admits is they made a piss-poor ruling against Lord Favre (someone you’ve criticized frequently in both your non-corporate and corporate schill days) and the only way they can save face is to try to re-justify the situation.

    If you think you’re even close to the voice you think you are, you’d call the league out for this complete and utter BS response to a legitimate crime. Instead, you have your lackey report the story, and you won’t even weigh in with an opinion of your own.

    You’ve become the antithesis of what made you successful in this space. Congratulations. Sleep well.

  28. Deb says: Dec 30, 2010 9:54 PM

    @realitypolice …

    I don’t want a league that reacts to screaming fans or an overwrought media. I want a commissioner that makes rational decisions for rational reasons that can be defended in logical arguments. If you make rational decisions for rational reasons that can be defended in logical arguments, then you don’t feel the need to go back a couple of months later and say “Oops, let me rethink that.”

    This decision does nothing but reinforce my conviction that Goodell was knee-jerking in the first place rather than planning a reasonable strategy for addressing issues such as head injuries.

    Got it?

  29. SteelTown6 says: Dec 30, 2010 10:19 PM

    Goodell’s just admitting he screwed up. The guy’s becoming a total joke.

    Fines for legal hits (that should never have been fined at all) when flags weren’t even thrown by the refs?
    Clamoring about player safety while profiting from selling “official” photos and videos of vicious hits, then wanting to add two more games per year?
    Rampant “no calls” all season on plays that -should- have resulted in fines and/or ejections or suspensions?
    Allowing Favre to skate while hanging Roethlisberger out to dry for, according to law enforcement, doing nothing?
    Postponing games because it might snow?

    Goodell needs to go. And now.

  30. mborz says: Dec 30, 2010 10:20 PM

    @realitypolice: Most people’s biggest beef has been inconsistency. This introduces even more.

    Some people will see it as a step in the right direction, others will see it as more uncertainty in an area where there’s already been an abundance of it.

    Anyone who has ever been responsible for making and enforcing policy knows that inconsistency is a huge impediment.

    So, I don’t really feel the need to roll my eyes at people who question whether or not the league knows what it’s doing when they now appear to be backpedaling.

    Because, as any true reality policeman would know, there’s more than one valid opinion about the topic.

  31. realitypolice says: Dec 30, 2010 10:23 PM

    @Deb:

    Fines and suspensions are routinely reduced upon appeal in all four major sports. It is completely routine.

    You can look it up if you want.

    The idea that the NFL doing what is done over and over in every US professional sports league is a sign that they “don’t know what they are doing” is laughable.

    Got it?

  32. goldsteel says: Dec 30, 2010 10:42 PM

    Thank you, Ted Cotrell! Perhaps some sanity is returning to the league office? Roger Goodell hasn’t learned that power should be administered judiciously.
    ————————————————–
    It is a strange desire, to seek power, and to lose liberty; or to seek power over others, and to lose power over a man’s self.

    Francis Bacon (1561–1626), English philosopher, essayist, statesman. Essays,“Of Great Place” (1597–1625).

  33. pastabelly says: Dec 30, 2010 11:05 PM

    Fans should not care about fines as fines don’t impact fans (unless they liver vicariously through the bank accounts of their favorite players). Unless and until they start hurting the teams by suspending players, the thuggery, injuries, and concussions will continue. James Harrison is a dirty football player and that is recognized by his peers. He prides himself in that stuff much they way Jack Tatum did. I don’t have a tough time putting Tatum and Harrison in the same sentence. Suspend him!!!!

  34. sam521 says: Dec 30, 2010 11:16 PM

    As reported on PFT, they are going to use this fine money to buy the Offensive players skirts, This was reported by jack Lambert.

    Now cleaning the soda off I spit on my computer screen. Best one yet!

  35. dman19 says: Dec 30, 2010 11:34 PM

    3 months later the reduction of fines will be rescinded, and Harrisons will be increased to 125 large..Favre will have an xtra year tacked on to his 5 yr hall of fame wait and his fine will be reduced to 43K—And Bubba Smith will have to dress up in a pink fairy costume…It’s obvious the league office flies by the seat of their pants…

  36. monkeesfan says: Dec 31, 2010 12:48 AM

    benybob – Meriweather’s hit was legitimate.

  37. monkeesfan says: Dec 31, 2010 1:00 AM

    Sports law professor Jeffrey Standen got it a few years back when he noted Goodell basically governs by taking things personally; I would add he has shown an utter cluelessness about the game (first shown in his ignorance of his own rulebook in his Bill Belichick jihad) and is reacting to sloppy media coverage of the game’s inherent violence and to sob stories about injured former players (has Boomer Esiason, BTW, figured out yet that no rule change was going to save John Mackey?) as though there is no inherent toughness to today’s players.

    As is noted above, he fined some players but not others – I would say, though, this is an inevitable inconsistency bred by overreaction by Goodell; some of the hits that were fined never should have been.

    He stalled and let Favre skate while throwing Roethlisberger under the bus – though Roeth didn’t do nothing; he basically had a woman imprisoned in a bathroom with help from his posse.

    Goodell has done nothing but prove he’s not qualified to be commissioner.

  38. tednancy says: Dec 31, 2010 2:58 AM

    #
    SteelTown6 says: Dec 30, 2010 10:19 PM

    Goodell’s just admitting he screwed up. The guy’s becoming a total joke.

    Fines for legal hits (that should never have been fined at all) when flags weren’t even thrown by the refs?
    Clamoring about player safety while profiting from selling “official” photos and videos of vicious hits, then wanting to add two more games per year?
    Rampant “no calls” all season on plays that -should- have resulted in fines and/or ejections or suspensions?
    Allowing Favre to skate while hanging Roethlisberger out to dry for, according to law enforcement, doing nothing?
    Postponing games because it might snow?

    Goodell needs to go. And now.
    *************************************
    What a surprise! Another stupid attempt by a Steelers fan to exonerate Rapistberger using the most flimsy of pretexts. Couldn’t help yourself, could you?

    It must be hard for you. You know in your heart of hearts that your QB is a slimeball, but you don’t have the guts or the brains to put aside your petty allegience to your favorite team and take a stand.

    Just look at you. Making a fool of yourself and for what? Because Rapistberger happens to play for your team? That’s all it takes for you to sell out?

    Everyone can see that you are having a hard time rooting for a slimeball and thus projecting your angst onto Goodell, the NFL and the rest of us – all of whom, I might add, are not suspected of being serial rapists.

    It just amazes me that you would prostitute your credibility and conscience on the thinnest of threads: the argument that because there was never a conviction, Ben did “nothing.”

    I guess if you play for the Steelers, you can be as filthy as you want to be, as long as the cops don’t catch you red handed.

    Steelers Motto: Commitment to Excrement.

  39. thetooloftools says: Dec 31, 2010 6:42 AM

    Do they get intrest?

  40. joetoronto says: Dec 31, 2010 8:18 AM

    monkeesfan says: Dec 31, 2010 12:48 AM

    benybob – Meriweather’s hit was legitimate.
    ********************************************************
    Legitimately illegal, is that what you meant?

  41. bluefan204 says: Dec 31, 2010 8:58 AM

    Why reduce them and make yourselves look even more idiotic?

    The NFL is in a shambles with this clown running the show. I turly believe that he is in way over his head now.

  42. SteelTown6 says: Dec 31, 2010 9:00 AM

    tednancy says: Dec 31, 2010 2:58 AM

    “You know in your heart of hearts that your QB is a slimeball, but you don’t have the guts or the brains to put aside your petty allegience to your favorite team and take a stand.”

    Really? Please post your evidence here, in detail…
    Regarding any “allegiance”, you’re clearly at the other end of the spectrum, a common garden variety hater who cares little about the truth – fact is, you WANT him to be guilty- you WANT it to be true that some college coed got raped.

    “Just look at you. Making a fool of yourself and for what? ”

    LOL… you’re the one who blew a gasket pal…

    “It just amazes me that you would prostitute your credibility and conscience on the thinnest of threads: the argument that because there was never a conviction, Ben did “nothing.””

    What’s “thin” about never having been charged or even arrested, especially when the cops involved and even the “victim” herself came right out and stated for the record that no rape took place? What part of that fact is giving you so much trouble?

    But there again, you haters want it to be true so bad you cant stand that it isn’t. So keep cponvincing yourself otherwise, spread lies all you want, and most importantly – hang onto that hate.= for as long as you live – and make sure you pass it on to your kids too. Your pain is our reward.

  43. mborz says: Dec 31, 2010 9:32 AM

    @tednancy: Your beliefs are as ridiculously extreme as those people you’re speaking out against.

    You loathe the people who cast all doubt aside and assume Roethlisberger is innocent because he plays for a team they like.

    Yet you cast all doubt aside and assume he’s a guaranteed serial rapist because he plays for a team you don’t like.

    It’s the exact same thing.

  44. Deb says: Dec 31, 2010 11:15 AM

    @realitypolice …

    That would be a good point except Harrison’s appeal was denied. Now they’ve just … changed their minds. Oops.

    @monkee …

    You should have read the police files from Milledgeville. Roethlisberger did not imprison a woman in a bathroom with help from his posse. He threw a couple of sorority sisters out of the party for ragging him about the Nevada lawsuit. Then he was in the bathroom with their friend–who multiple witnesses said had been climbing all over him all evening–for less than 10 minutes. The women he’d tossed from the party dragged her to police and invented a story about rape and the posse blocking the door. That story was refuted by witnesses and the medical exam. They were the only two people who told that posse-blocked-the-door tale and many others, including the club owner, said it never happened. The DA called them out for their drunken fictions and said he hoped they’d learned their lesson.

    @tednancy …

    You’re the only slimeball in this scenario, a pathetic excuse for a human being who hasn’t read one word of the evidence in the Roethlisberger case and is slandering people simply because you don’t like their football team. The woman in Nevada texted friends about looking forward to seeing Roethlisberger again and sued for $3 million after running low on cash and having her bosses try to stop her from stalking him on his next visit to the hotel. The woman in Georgia had a medical exam showing she could not possibly have had sex with him. Authorities in both jurisdictions said there is no reason to believe the alleged crimes ever took place.

    Rape is a serious issue that should be taken seriously, not used as fodder for football rivalries by conscienceless idiots like you.

  45. tednancy says: Dec 31, 2010 1:30 PM

    Wow, that struck a nerve. The point remains unchallenged: you will, apparently, support Ben no matter what, and justify it by arguing that because there was no criminal indictment, he didn’t do anything wrong.

    A jury found O.J. innocent of any crime as well. Ted Kennedy skated because prosecutors found no “evidence” supporting a criminal charge in the MJK case. Would you support those guys too? And what about Mike Vick? He was never convicted of killing dogs, as only the racketeering and tax evasion raps managed to stick. Would you say he wasn’t guilty of something there?

    Common sense says that Ben did some very, very slimy things – even if the evidence thereof may not be statutorily sufficient to support felony rape charges in Nevada and S.C., respectively. Remember that the FBI was never able to nab Al Capone for murder. Does that change your impression of him?

    The issue here is not and never was whether or not Ben should be locked up; for my part I have never said he should be. But while the record may not be clear enough to make a criminal charges stick in the notoriously difficult processes of a rape trial, the evidence DOES overwhelmingly support the conclusion that Ben is a very unsavory character who engaged in behavior – on a chronic basis – that would make most people gag with revulsion.

    That’s your QB, Pittsburgh. In the era of the Steel Curtain, Ben would have been run out of town by his teammates, if not by the fans. But something is for sale where the three rivers meet: the soul of a once proud dynasty.

    Cheap.

  46. Deb says: Dec 31, 2010 2:57 PM

    @tednancy …

    If a woman texts friends that she can’t wait to see the guy again, she wasn’t raped. If a woman has a medical exam that says she didn’t have sex, she wasn’t raped. Saying otherwise does a disservice not only to the falsely accused but to real victims. But you don’t care about that because you’re just a jackass who thinks rape is a funny joke to push buttons of rival fans. Here’s hoping you’ll be served some well-deserved karma one day.

    You can go back to your sandbox now.

  47. steelerdynasty2010 says: Dec 31, 2010 3:30 PM

    @tednancy:
    each time you post your argument, you sound sillier. at least your opposition is using actual FACTS, not your flimsy “common sense” argument. what kind of country would we be in if “common sense”, not evidence determined guilt and innocence? would that be the sense that’s “common” amongst people who support him, or do we go with the “common” sense of those who believe he is guilty (in the absence of ANY EVIDENCE OR FACTS). my “common sense” tells me that your hatred of Ben is a manifestation of your self loathing and likely a reflection of the fact that you are the same kind of person you so emphatically proclaim him to be. and since i used “common sense”, i’d be right according to your argument.
    if you’re going to argue with someone who’s using real facts, at least pretend to use some in your argument. pull an excerpt from the report and twist them to your advantage at least….
    “But while the record may not be clear enough to make a criminal charges stick in the notoriously difficult processes of a rape trial, the evidence DOES overwhelmingly support the conclusion that Ben is a very unsavory character who engaged in behavior – on a chronic basis – that would make most people gag with revulsion.”
    -again, you invoke evidence, yet present none. what evidence would that be? please provide it, we’d love to read it. til then…..just let it go

  48. holeinone09 says: Dec 31, 2010 3:32 PM

    @tednancy:

    What a surprise! Another stupid attempt by a Steelers hater to crucify Big Ben using the most flimsy of pretexts. Couldn’t help yourself, could you?

    It must be hard for you. You know in your heart of hearts that our QB is a one of the best in the league, was not charged and has been doing everything he can to improve his behavior, but you don’t have the guts or the brains to put aside your petty allegience to your favorite team and take a stand.

    Just look at you. Making a fool of yourself and for what? Because Big Ben doesn’t happen to play for your team? That’s all it takes for you to sell out?

    Everyone can see that you are having a hard time making an honest assessment of talent.

    Get over it pal. Ben is the QB of Steelers, and has the same legal rights as a citizen as you do. Now you can leave the PC in library and run home before dinner.

    GO STEELERS!!

  49. phathead7 says: Dec 31, 2010 4:16 PM

    this truly shows how bad a commish.roger goodel is.barack obama wants change,so do nfl fans.time to fire this incompetent commish.every time there is a big decision to make he screws it up.at my job you screw up 3 times you are fired.how many bad decisions can goodel make before something is done about it?

  50. tinselburn says: Dec 31, 2010 5:41 PM

    @tednancy

    It was not a lack of indictment due to lack of evidence.
    It was a lack of indictment due to the evidence stating no crime was commited.

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