The NFL has fined Bunkley $20,000 for kicking 49ers offensive lineman Alex Boone in the head on Sunday, Jason La Canfora of CBS reports. That’s less than the $30,000 Suh was fined for a kick on Texans quarterback Matt Schaub, which Suh said was an accident.
Bunkley’s fine is hard to figure: Boone was on the ground and Bunkley obviously kicked his helmet on purpose, and yet Bunkley is fined not only less than Suh, but also less than many players have been fined for hits that took place in a split second during a play. Bunkley was penalized 15 yards and ejected, but his fine is less than the fine Jared Allen got for his hit on Lance Louis on Sunday, which the officials on the field didn’t think was worthy of a penalty flag at all.
The NFL may have become a bit hesitant to suspend players in the wake of Ed Reed winning an appeal of his suspension for hits to the head, or the NFL may be hesitant to suspend a Saints player in the wake of the criticism the league has taken for its suspensions in the bounty case.
Whatever the reasons, Bunkley should consider himself lucky: A $20,000 fine is a lot less than his punishment could have been.