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Bizarrely specific NFL fines come from agreed league, union schedule

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This year, the fines imposed by the NFL against players who have done things on the field they arguably shouldn’t have done have taken on a bizarre level of specificity.

The specificity comes not on a case-by-case basis, but from the agreement reached by the league and the NFLPA regarding the minimum amounts for various infractions.

For physical contact with an official, for example, the minimum player fine is $26,250 on a first offense. Verbal or non-physical offenses against officials entail a less specific $21,000 fine for a first offense.

For striking, kicking, or kneeing an opponent, the minimum for a first offense is $7,875.

Horse collar, first offense?  $15,750 minimum.

Face mask, late hit, low block, chop block, taunting?  $7,875 minimum.

Leg whip, roughing the passer?  $15,750 minimum.

Spearing, hit on defenseless player, blindside block, impermissible helmet use?  $21,000 minimum.

Fighting?  $26,250 minimum.

Excessive profanity or other unsportsmanlike conduct triggers a minimum fine of $10,500.

Foreign substances on the uniform/body or failure to wear a chin strap results in a minimum fine of $7,875.

Throwing a football into the stands or personal messages on the uniform draw a minimum fine of $5,250.

For second offenses, all minimum fines double.

Remember, these are minimum fines.  The league office can go higher, if it chooses.

The fines for on-field misconduct between players are subject to appeal to Ted Cottrell or Art Shell, former coaches who have been jointly appointed and who are jointly paid by the NFL and the NFLPA.  And while the initial fines are disclosed by the league on request, announcements regarding reductions rarely if ever are made.

Some believe that the fines should be based on a percentage of player salary or cap number.   Until that happens (and it possibly never will), specific amounts negotiated by the NFL and the NFLPA will apply to all players, regardless of how much or how little they make.

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27 Responses to “Bizarrely specific NFL fines come from agreed league, union schedule”
  1. logicalvoicesays says: Dec 1, 2012 4:03 PM

    Mike Jenkins deserves a fine for cheapshotting Pierre Garçon after Garçon toasted him for a TD on Thanksgiving. But noooo, DeAngelo Hall gets fined for no reason. Just another example of the NFL’s bias against the Washington Redskins.

  2. thestrategyexpert says: Dec 1, 2012 4:06 PM

    They should have a flat minimum fine for all players PLUS a percentage of salary fine.

  3. lawyermalloy says: Dec 1, 2012 4:06 PM

    Once again the Union giving it’s membership’s money away!

  4. stevemo says: Dec 1, 2012 4:14 PM

    It’s funny how I’ve heard fans of literally every team claim bias against their team. Yeah, they got it out for you.

  5. yyyass says: Dec 1, 2012 4:16 PM

    Fines are useless. If you want to change behavior make the offending player run laps around the field at halftime dressed like Marv Albert on a Friday night.

  6. mike5011ad says: Dec 1, 2012 4:21 PM

    What is confusing people is HOW the NFL came up with those numbers. The simple answer is that last year those fines were 5, 7.5, 10, 15, and 20 thousand dollars. This year they increased the fines by 5%. That’s why the numbers seem strange. Next year they are probably going to go up by a percentage as well.

  7. bigbenh8tr says: Dec 1, 2012 4:24 PM

    Please. The Nfl is not after the cowboys redskins packers or Steelers. the nfl makes more money and churns in better ratings when their most notorious and most supported franchises do well. They would prefer to have all these teams in the playoffs every year with the patriots bad whoever manning or someone with the likes of rg3 would be playing for.

  8. asyd1827 says: Dec 1, 2012 4:30 PM

    The fine numbers were normal last year under the new CBA, but this year fines were increased by 5% (a rule under the CBA). These numbers decreased by those 5% are $25,000, $20,000, $15,000, $10,000, $7,500, and $5,000. Not so bizarre, huh.

  9. patpatriotagain says: Dec 1, 2012 4:41 PM

    big ben you had a point until you lost all connection with the english language.

    “with the patriots bad whoever manning or someone with the likes of rg3 would be playing for.”

    what does that even mean?!? if it means that the league would like their 2nd most valuable franchise (patriots) to be bad, your I.Q. is lower than your grammar grades were.

  10. stevenfbrackett says: Dec 1, 2012 4:43 PM

    But is there a rule that says if a player is fined x number of times in y number of games, he is then suspended z number of games?

    Because some of these guys are getting fined on a pretty regular basis – so obviously fines aren’t teaching them anything. But maybe losing a game check or few will.

  11. mrfoozball says: Dec 1, 2012 4:44 PM

    The bigger question should be: where is all of the money going to? “The money is going to charity” is a sleazy answer and is way too vague. Specifics would be nice… But I highly doubt we (the fans) will have an honest answer.

  12. truefootballinsight says: Dec 1, 2012 4:52 PM

    So what ever happened to flags? NFL found them useless?
    Seriously NFL stop changing the game to a game of 7-on-7.

  13. doublebro says: Dec 1, 2012 5:09 PM

    $5250 for throwing a ball in the stands?!? Reall?MLB encourages it.

  14. beavertonsteve says: Dec 1, 2012 5:16 PM

    Fining Mario Williams the same amount as some dude signed off the practice squad for a couple weeks really doesn’t seem that fair.

  15. joeychargers says: Dec 1, 2012 5:32 PM

    They should do it like this:

    1st fine: The minimum+ (Depending on the severity)
    2nd fine: Double the minimum+
    3rd fine: Suspension

  16. raqaiw says: Dec 1, 2012 5:45 PM

    This is why all defensive players are furious. If you break down this list into whom is most likely to occur the penalty only 2 are firmly in the realm of offensive players,compared to 7 for defensive players.
    I broke them down as follows:

    Any player (12): Contact w/ official,striking/kicking/kneeing,taunting,leg whip,blindside block,fighting,unsportsmanlike conduct,profanity,foreign uniform substances,chin strap undone,throwing football into stands,messages on uniform.

    Defense(7): Horse collar,face mask,late hit,roughing passer,spearing,hitting defenseless player,illegal helmet use.

    Offense (2): Low block and chop block.

    An offensive player could get a facemask or horse collar,but it’s far more likely a defensive player will. Based solely on this list,you could make the argument that the league is legislating defense out of football,to the detriment of the game.

  17. nyyjetsknicks says: Dec 1, 2012 7:07 PM

    How do you have excessive profanity on a football field?

  18. larryboodry says: Dec 1, 2012 7:33 PM

    $5250 for throwing a ball in the stands…If you need to fine someone for promoting goodwill with fans, how ’bout just fining the actual cost of the football?

  19. hawk4life80 says: Dec 1, 2012 7:37 PM

    Mike,, fines are out of control it is ruining football! A flag is enough. This is a game, they are going to make to where no one will want to go 100%. In fear of getting fined for the most ridicules things. Also lets just take all the emotion out if an emotional game. Give me a break. Everyone just sits there like its no big deal. Well mark my words, if no one blows the whistle on this, it will be the end of football as we know it. So by all means turn a blind eye!!!!

  20. csilojohnson says: Dec 1, 2012 8:41 PM

    So this is what the league has become…. I can’t believe all but one team agreed to this crap. Doesn’t really seem like the union is on the players side. It amazes me that it only took Goodell 2 years to ruin what was the greatest sports league.

  21. djaehne says: Dec 1, 2012 8:55 PM

    Seems like since the teams payroll limit is stagnated then the fines should remain the same year to year and only increase when the payroll goes up.

  22. djaehne says: Dec 1, 2012 8:58 PM

    Oh wait, I know what it is with the fines being so high this year, NFL is making the players finance the billion dollar law suit that the league will eventually lose in court of law to the players on safety.

  23. lobzila says: Dec 1, 2012 9:52 PM

    If you really want the fine system to work, make it based of precentages of what a player makes per game. Not all players make the same amount and this would make them think twice about losing ten percent of a games paycheck to commit whatever foul they are about to do.

  24. kalib933 says: Dec 2, 2012 1:47 AM

    So pretty soon are we going to have fines for holding, intentional grounding and pass interference?

  25. tjacks7 says: Dec 2, 2012 1:56 AM

    Throwing a football into the stands or personal messages on the uniform draw a minimum fine of $5,250.


    Just out of curiosity, does handing a ball to a fan count as throwing a football into the stands? $5,250 for that seems a bit excessive and ridiculous.

  26. heleandrew says: Dec 19, 2012 8:53 AM

    I don’t think anyone is conspiring against my team. What I want to see is that cheap shot artist Anquan Boldin get fined and suspended for his deliberate, blatant cheap shots to the backs of defensive players that come well after the whistle has blown. The latest example being against the Broncos Chris Harris. Harris kept Boldin from making any receptions during the game and intercepted a pass meant for Boldin that he returned for a touch down. Boldin’s response to his own frustration was to take a 5 yard run at Harris while his back was turned, and well after the whistle had blown, and hit him right between the numbers. It’s not Boldin’s first offense this year for the same penalty (the first time he was caught was against the chargers just a few games back). If this was any defensive player not only fines but definite suspensions would be on the way. Boldin’s actions will eventually result in someone being injured. If he can’t handle the fact that he was flat out outplayed, outmatched, and ultimately outclassed by Harris (due to his lack of retaliation) he shouldn’t be on the field to begin with.

  27. Deb says: Jan 23, 2013 3:53 PM

    First, as long as the list of “specific” fines is “minimum,” there are no specific fines. Goodell is free to fine players whatever he wants at his own discretion. The players were fools to agree to this. Second, I’d love to see Goodell run for 90 yards in 60 game minutes with an NFL defense chasing him and see how his socks look afterward.

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